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Artest wants Pacers to trade him


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INDIANAPOLIS ? (AP) ? Ron Artest's days with the Indiana Pacers might be numbered if his desire to play elsewhere carries any weight with management.


The former NBA defensive player of the year let it be known in various interviews over the weekend that he wants to be traded, that his past "haunts'' him in Indianapolis and that the team would be better off without him.


A telephone message seeking comment was left with Pacers spokesman David Benner on Monday.


On Saturday night, a day after ESPN first broadcast a story about Artest's unhappiness with the Pacers, coach Rick Carlisle said any talk about a possible trade is "not my department. That's not something I'm going to talk about.''


Artest, who leads the NBA in steals and is the Pacers' second-leading scorer with a 19.4 average, has missed three of the past four games with a sore right wrist. He was at Saturday's game, an 80-66 win over Memphis, but was not available for comment.


Indiana went 2-1 in the games Artest missed.


"If Ron feels that way, then that's the way he feels,'' Jermaine O'Neal said after the Memphis game. "We're going to go to war with any guy that wants to wear a Pacers uniform.


"Bottom line, if you want to wear it, we're with you. If you don't, see you later. ... If he doesn't want to be here, he's not going to give his full effort.''


Artest missed 73 games and all the playoffs last season after he was suspended by the NBA for triggering the brawl with fans in Detroit.


"If till think my past haunts me here,'' Artest told The Indianapolis Star. "I think somewhere else I'm starting fresh. I'm coming in with baggage, but people already know about it and how I'm going to be.''


Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said he was surprised by Artest's comments.


"I've never heard him say anything before,'' Walsh told the newspaper. "He hasn't talked to me, and I see him every day. He can always come up and talk to me or (team president) Admin Bird. From here on out, I expect Ronnie to be a professional. . . . (This) isn't the best way to get a trade done.''


Artest also told the newspaper he thinks his style of play disrupts the Pacers' offense.


"I'm so demanding of the ball. It's not my fault,'' he said. "Every time somebody is on me it's a mismatch. It messes up the offense.


"I like Coach (Carlisle) as a person, but I don't like playing for Coach. I like my team, though.''

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