by Lang Whitaker

When the Clippers traded nothing in exchange for Marcus Camby, I was like, whatever. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. But now it’s being reported that the Mavs and Kings are talking about a Ron Artest swap, and what would Dallas have to give up in order to get one of the most dynamic players in the NBA? According to something called Hoopsworld

The Mavericks are apparently offering Brandon Bass and the expiring contract of Jerry Stackhouse for Artest…

Nothing against Brandon Bass, who was much improved last year, or Jerry Stackhouse, who was Jerry Stackhouse last year. But I thought the Kings, if anyone, would realize that once Stack’s contract expires and he leaves, then you’re basically trading Ron Artest for Brandon Bass. And that’s not a good trade, at least not for Sacto.

What’s more interesting to me is the concept of teams trading valuable pieces for nothing. It has to do with the salary cap and is all really confusing, but there are ways for teams under the cap to deal with other teams and not have to match the salaries. It sucks if your team is the one trying to get under the cap, but these things happen. Money doesn’t grow on trees, or in NBA arenas.

But what’s really strange is that the complex NBA trading rules are, in a way, set up to protect fans and not allow teams to basically just give players away. Unless your team hasn’t spent enough money to be over the cap, in which case they can do anything they want. Which doesn’t seem quite right.

According to Camby’s agent in the Rocky Mountain News, the Nets were also interested in trading for the Camby Man. One big problem, however…

“Kiki really wanted Marcus,” said Camby’s agent, Rick Kaplan, referring to New Jersey general manager Kiki Vandeweghe, the general manager in Denver when the Nuggets traded for Camby in June 2002. “But he didn’t have enough of nothing to give.”

So, at least in NBA terms, nothing either actually equals nothing or it could also be something substantial.

And considering this is Ron Artest we’re talking about here, somehow this all seems to make sense.