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Ron Artest offers to play next season for FREE


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The Maloofs might make this some sort of binding verbal agreement.


Ron Artest claims he would play next season free of charge if the Kings bring back coach Rick Adelman and bruise brother Bonzi Wells.


Adelman does not have a contract extension, never mind the eight consecutive playoff berths and near-miraculous turnaround this season when the campaign looked lost in January. Wells will be a free agent and is sure to draw considerable interest from teams after he took San Antonio to task in the first round. He also was the Kings' most steady performer in the regular season when he wasn't hurt, according to team president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie.


"I'll give up my next year's salary to keep Bonzi Wells," Artest said.


Then he added about Adelman, a coach who put the ball in the man's hands and allowed him to create and attack, all while maintaining his penchant for defense: "I'll give him my salary, too."


Danger signs - Two players who needed to have big playoff series in order for the Kings to survive were veterans Mike Bibby and Brad Miller.


Both struggled. Bibby shot 33 percent (he struggled in the playoffs last year, too). Miller's scoring average dipped from 15 a game in the regular season to 9.2 against the Spurs, and he managed just 18 rebounds in six games.


"I'm upset and mad," Bibby said of his performance.


Bibby's salary swells to $12.5 million next season, and Miller's goes up to $9.6 million.


Carril status - Pete Carril, the longest-tenured Kings assistant coach, is not exactly sure where he will be next season.


He'll either return to the Kings and continue mentoring young players such as Kevin Martin, or he'll retire in or near his beloved New Jersey, where he coached at Princeton.


Carril, 75, has maintained all season that he wants to return to the Kings only if he feels "wanted." The players want him back, to a man, as do the coaches and Petrie.


"I feel wanted, yes," Carril said. "But I haven't made up my mind yet if I'll come back."


Wells on his status - Wells said he will not return to his native Indiana, where he runs camps and clinics, until June at the earliest. His kids are in school, and he'd like to stick around long term, all things considered.


"It's a business, and I can't take it personally (if he is not re-signed or is traded)," Wells said. "I've been part of trades before, but I've told (management and ownership) that I don't want to go anywhere. I'm very happy here. I love the community, I love the city and I love the fans.


"They can sign me if they want to."


Rick on scheduling - Adelman was more than willing to speak on behalf of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about the quick turnaround for the defending champions, who closed out the Kings late Friday, flew back to Texas on Saturday and had to prepare for the Dallas Mavericks in an early game today.


"It's a travesty they play Sunday afternoon," Adelman said. "Who in the world thinks that's fair to play another game within 36 hours with the travel? I know Pop won't say anything, but it's a travesty."


Adelman then paused, smiled and said, "I don't think they can fine me for that, can they?"



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