The NBA notebook …
LOS ANGELES ó Ron Artest is joining Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I am very excited to finally be going to L.A.,” Artest said in a statement issued by his agent Thursday night. “For years now, the Lakers have expressed interest in having me play for them, but we could never get the stars to align. I’m finally a Laker and I can’t wait to get on the court with Kobe, Pau (Gasol) and the rest of the team, and play for Phil (Jackson). The Lakers really made me feel wanted.”
David Bauman, Artest’s agent, said the final details are being worked out.
“We have entered into discussions with Ron Artest and it is our intention to sign him to a contract at the conclusion of the moratorium period,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement Thursday night.
ESPN.com reported that Artest had agreed to a three-year deal worth $18 million. Bauman would not confirm those numbers, saying the deal was still being negotiated.
“We’re not quite there yet,” Bauman said. “We’re still working on it.”
LOS ANGELES ó Phil Jackson will return to coach the Los Angeles Lakers next season, getting a clean bill of health following a record championship season.
The Hall of Fame coach turns 64 in September and said on the team’s Web site Friday he got the go-ahead for another season after consulting the team doctor.
Jackson led the Lakers to their 15th NBA championship and his 10th title in June, breaking the mark he shared with the late Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach.
“I feel confident that I can gainfully pursue an NBA season with another long playoff postseason,” he said. “All things point to go!”
He has undergone two hip replacement operations since October 2006 ó using a cane at various times ó and walks with a noticeable hitch in his step. He underwent an angioplasty in 2003 to open a clogged artery in his heart.
Jackson became the Lakers’ coach in 1999, and guided the team to NBA titles in each of his first three seasons. He left following the 2003-04 season but returned the following season.
Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls to six championships in the 1990s.
HEDO TO BLAZERS
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Hedo Turkoglu reportedly agreed to join the Portland Trail Blazers after helping Orlando reach the NBA finals.
The 6-foot-10 forward arrived in Portland on Thursday to meet Blazers executives and tour the city.
He opted out of his Orlando contract last week when the team acquired Vince Carter from New Jersey. Turkoglu was due $7.3 million next season in the final year of his $36 million, six-year deal with Orlando. He averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.
CELTICS OFFER RASHEED
BOSTON ó The Boston Celtics have offered forward Rasheed Wallace a contract as part of a major push to land the coveted forward, according to a published report on Friday.
The Boston Globe reports the Celtics offered Wallace a deal during a three-hour meeting in Detroit on Thursday. Celtics stars Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce joined general manager Danny Aingeat the meeting.
BEIJING ó Houston Rockets All-Star center Yao Ming will have to wait up to a week before he knows whether he will need surgery on his broken left foot.
The playing future of the 7-foot-6 Yao is in question amid reports from the team doctor that the hairline fracture in his foot could keep him out all of next season, and potentially end his career.