Joe Maloof wasn't all that comfortable giving a public reading on his level of satisfaction with Ron Artest, but when the question was posed Wednesday in a way that he felt comfortable answering, the co-owner of the Sacramento Kings relented.
Who Won't Be Traded
These 10 guys are a mix of the untouchable and the untradable, some because of their talent, some because of their contracts:
1. Yao Ming, Rockets. He was playing like an MVP before fracturing his leg late last week, and he's still young enough to be the NBA's most dominant center for the next decade.
2. Tim Duncan, Spurs. Chances of being traded are roughly equal to those of David Robinson's number being unretired in San Antonio.
Have he and his brother Gavin fallen out of love with Artest?
"No, not at all. He's had two great practices, he's upbeat, he's made comments lately that make a lot of sense. So I don't want to make any other comments other than Artest has been great," Maloof said.
But those who spend more time around the team than the co-owners would beg to differ, and the scuttlebutt going around the league this week was that Geoff Petrie has decided the most prudent course of action is to cut the cord with Artest before an already shaky situation grows even more unstable. Barring a trade in the next 24-48 hours, Ron-Ron's last chance to salvage his relationships with Mike Bibby and coach Eric Musselman will come over the course of a five-game home stand that begins Saturday night.
An offer of a straight-up swap for Corey Maggette of the Los Angeles Clippers is on the table, but there are many, many other scenarios involving Maggette in play to keep the Artest deal just an option for now. But something is clearly going to give soon with Maggette, which is why he tops Insider's two months-into-the-season list of the 10 players most likely to be traded: