by Marcel Mutoni

When the clock struck midnight on July 1, and the free agency period officially kicked off, all hell predictably broke loose. Guys opted out of their deals, teams threw insane amounts of money at them, and those who didn’t opt out were left shaking their heads in disbelief.

Ron Artest, for instance.

“I don’t see myself with [the] Kings beyond 2008-09.”

“I think I made the biggest mistake by staying in my contract and I have to live with it,” Artest said. “I had some misleading information [in making the] decision on not opting out. [But] I still thank God for all his blessings and being able to play basketball and help people.”

Ron Artest’s agent must be one convincing SOB if he got his client to truly believe that a team was willing to offer him a deal on par with the ones Baron, Gilbert, et al are receiving.

Not to worry, Ron. Your crack at free agency and its untold riches is only a short 12 months away.