July 14, 2008 4:43 PM
Ron Artest doesn't want to play for Nuggets
By Chris Tomasson
Ron-Ron is down-down on the Nuggets.
The Nuggets tried to deal for Sacramento forward Ron Artest before last February's trading deadline, and he never seemed bothered by the prospect of playing for them.
But not now.
With trade rumors swirling around Artest, I sent him an e-mail Sunday asking if would have interest in being dealt to the Nuggets. He wasted no time in giving a definitive no.
"I cannot play in Denver because they question my drive to finish my career off strong and not embarrass my family,'' Artest wrote Sunday night. "Any player wants to win a championship is low risk.''
So what's that all about? I can't remember anybody on the Nuggets criticizing Artest.
So Artest was sent another e-mail on Monday asking who on the Nuggets might have spoken ill of him. The e-mail also asked if his thinking means he won't consider Denver when he becomes a free agent next summer.
Artest's answer wasn't specific. But he's definitely down on playing for the Nuggets.
"That's not even an option to be a Nugget,'' he wrote. "They let me know how they felt about me already.''
But there are things Artest likes about the Nuggets.
"I live (sic) watching them play,'' he wrote. "Very exciting. And (Linas) Kleiza and J.R. (Smith) are very impressive when I watch them.''
The Nuggets could have traded Kleiza and Eduardo Najera last February to the Kings for Artest, but Denver was reluctant to give up a top young prospect in Kleiza for a player who could opt out of his contract this summer and become a free agent. As it turned out, Artest did not opt out.
In April, before the Kings played the Nuggets for the first time since the trade fell through, Artest was asked via e-mail about the possible deal.
"Carmelo made my son and daughter happy when we found out that he wanted me on his team,'' Artest wrote about star Carmelo Anthony having wanted the Nuggets to trade for Artest. "He is my son's favorite player. It made me feel blessed that he wanted me on his team and I immediately thanked God for that. (If) God put me in Denver, it's no question they would have been a better team.''
Artest isn't pushing for any move to Denver now.