Ron Artest is not going home to play for his beloved New York Knicks. Artest didn't get the fairy-tale trade to join his Southern California buddy Kobe Bryant, either.
He's also not complaining.
Artest was unmistakably giddy in the early hours of Wednesday morning in a phone conversation with ESPN.com as he discussed his forthcoming trade to the Houston Rockets.
"I'll be a kid in a candy store," Artest said. "I'll be a kid in a store with a lot of candy. I'm going to dance with the stars."
Instead of the trade to Hollywood to Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers, as many around the league expected, Artest is headed to Houston for a reunion with Rick Adelman, who ranks as his favorite pro coach.
In a swap first reported Tuesday night by The Houston Chronicle, Sacramento has agreed to part with its rugged but controversial swingman in exchange for a first-round pick in 2009, newly drafted Rockets rookie Donte Greene, Kings alumnus Bobby Jackson (and his salary cap-friendly contract) and a first-round pick in 2009.
NBA front-office sources confirmed to ESPN.com that the Kings will also receive approximately $1 million in cash considerations although the deal can't be completed and announced before Aug. 14 because Greene is not eligible to be traded until then per league rules after signing with the Rockets on July 14.
Artest simply can't wait. He has been second-guessing his decision not to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent since the first day of free agency July 1, telling ESPN.com earlier this month that he was hopinghttp://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3510261