Cheshire Jets Rumors
Ron Artest doesn’t want to part ways with the British Basketball League’s Cheshire Jets just yet. It’s only been three weeks since he boasted to The Times, “I’m definitely playing for the Jets.” But plenty of cold water has poured on that possibility. Artest postponed his planned trip to the U.K. from Aug. 18-23, his agent David Bauman said, partly because of the team’s failure to offer insurance. Bauman has since said Artest won’t join the Jets should they refuse insurance. And, oh yeah, it just became official that Artest will be featured on “Dancing with the Stars,” beginning Sept. 19.
Artest said he is going to sign with the Cheshire Jets in Great Britain, but will decide by Nov. 22 whether to join the club if the lockout continues. Artest said he has been offered more money to play with more highly regarded teams overseas but he likes the small arenas and laid-back atmosphere in Britain.
Artest said he remains interested in playing for the Cheshire Jets of the Britain Basketball League, but won’t make an official decision until after Nov. 22, provided the lockout hasn’t ended. Artest’s agent recently told the Los Angeles Times that the Jets have yet to offer Artest insurance to play. “I’m definitely going if I’m not playing [in the NBA],” Artest said. “…It’s pro basketball. It’s going to be fun. Small gym – I want to go somewhere nice and small. I’ve had other opportunities to make more money in other places, but I want to play in a small area.”
“I’m not going to lie to anybody,” Bauman continued. “Ron fully intends to play for the Jets. Once all the information trickled in and we had a good pow-wow and it was very apparent there was a $21-million risk to agreeing to a deal like this, that’s when we started to slow things down a little bit.” That’s why Bauman said he’s advised Artest to wait to see how the negotiations surrounding the pending collective bargaining agreement turn out, arguing to wait until the Lakers’ scheduled training camp approaches in late September before pursuing overseas offers. Bauman also declined to address whether Artest will follow through on his plan to play an unspecified number of exhibition games with the Loimaa Bisons, a professional basketball team in Finland, during one week in September.
Bauman, who had said as early as late June that Artest would need insurance before accepting an overseas offer, was asked whether he had informed Artest about his concerns as Artest publicly expressed enthusiasm for playing in the U.K. “I think you can conclude that,” Bauman said. “Obviously, my advice was not to do it.”
It’s possible Ron Artest may not bring [Metta] World Peace to England after all. Though Artest declared his intention to The Times two weeks ago that he’s “definitely going to play” for the British Basketball League’s Cheshire Jets, his agent, David Bauman, said the team hasn’t offered Artest insurance, which poses a “major problem” and would prevent the Lakers forward from joining the team. “It’s still on the table,” Bauman said Tuesday in a phone interview. “But again, this insurance thing is a significant and a serious obstacle for any of the NBA players.”