Flip mode: Ariza to Rockets, Artest expected to sign with Lakers

Artest and Kobe Bryant could soon be teammates.

Artest and Kobe Bryant could soon be teammates.

The Houston Rockets have reached a contract agreement with Trevor Ariza, Yahoo! reported Thursday night.

A source said the Rockets will sign Ariza to a multi-year contract.  Terms aren’t known, although it is believed Ariza will make the mid-level exception ($5.6 million) in the first year of the contract.

Meanwhile, Ron Artest is reportedly on the verge of signing with the Lakers.

ESPN reported the Lakers offered Artest a three-year, $18 million contract Thursday.  Artest’s agent told the Associated Press the two sides had reached a “verbal agreement” but terms hadn’t been finalized.

These developments came out of nowhere.  Cleveland was said to be pursuing both players, but it wasn’t known the Lakers had even the slightest interest in adding Artest.  It remains to be seen how Artest will impact the pursuit of Lamar Odom.

Quite honestly, the Artest signing doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Ariza is a perfect fit for the rebuilding Rockets.  He has modest career numbers, but at 24 his best days are still ahead.  Replacing the aging, injury-prone, unreliable Artest with a younger, more athletic player is clearly a smart move.

The latest free-agent buzz has the Cavs looking at Anthony Parker.  Rasheed Wallace is expected to sign with Boston, but could also end up in Cleveland or San Antonio.

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