Artest wanted time off to promote rap album
/ Associated Press
Posted: 10 hours ago
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana Pacers
forward Ron Artest
said Wednesday that he asked coach Rick Carlisle for time off because of a busy schedule that included promoting a soon-to-be released rap album, which led to his two-game benching.
Artest held a short news conference before Wednesday night's 102-68 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers
, and in his usual ambiguous manner, tried to explain why he was benched.
Artest said that he asked Carlisle for as much as a month off to heal his aching body and recover from a particularly busy schedule.
"My body has been aching, I was going to take some time off and I said it the wrong way," Artest said. "Everything that happened wasn't too negative. I kind of surprised the team by wanting to take some games off, just to get back together, maybe stay home for a little bit, rest a little bit and come back."
He certainly surprised Carlisle, who said Tuesday that the situation, "compromised the integrity of the team. It's a private team matter, and I'm going to leave it at that."
"I don't know what that means," Artest said. "They probably expected a little more; expected me to play every game. Everybody's different. It's early in the season, so I feel like I could take some time off early and be ready for the long stretch."
So Carlisle benched Artest for Tuesday night's win over Minnesota and Wednesday night's game with the Clippers. It is not a suspension, and Artest will not lose any salary.
When asked if Artest would return for Friday night's game at Philadelphia as originally planned, Carlisle said, "We'll see. We'll see. It's not something I'm going to talk about right now."
The 24-year-old is scheduled to release his debut rap album later this month and has been spending a lot of time making promotional appearances.
"I've been doing a little bit too much music, just needed the rest," Artest said. "I've still got my album coming out Nov. 23. After the album comes out I'm going to make sure all of my time is focused on winning a championship."
It's the latest in a long line of controversial situations for Artest, ranging from destroying television monitors at Madison Square Garden two years ago to missing the team flight to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Detroit last season.
Carlisle tried to downplay the issue before the game Wednesday night.
"This isn't the Cuban missile crisis. It's not life or death, it's not about national security," Carlisle said. "It's just simply about a group of guys needing to remind ourselves - all of us - about the sanctity of team, and what it's about."
The message appears to have landed with Artest.
"It was a good decision," Artest said. "I need the rest. There's a lot of things going on."
When asked if he thought the punishment fit the crime, Artest said, "There was no crime done. I think it helped out. I was tired.
"I was doing a lot. I was running around a lot and doing a whole bunch of stuff and I've also been working out, so I think I wore myself down physically, I wore myself down mentally. I was ready to take some time off, at least like a month off, but two games is enough."
With so many injuries, the last thing the Pacers needed was to lose another player, especially one of their two All-Stars.
The Pacers had just nine players available against the Clippers but Carlisle said he would not play Artest.
"We've spent a lot of time and a lot of money this summer traveling, working guys out, working toward a plan to win this year and that plan was built around team," Carlisle said. "It's important in this early stage that we're steadfast in that understanding."
If you think that is funny, you should have heard his press conference. I couldn't understand what the hell he was saying