The Sacramento Kings traded Ron Artest to the Houston Rockets for the draft rights to Donte Green, Bobby Jackson, their 2009 No. 1 draft choice and cash. The mercurial Artest now gives the Rockets a superior defender and very good offensive player to go along with the combination of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming ... almost instantly making the Rockets solid contenders to win the Western Conference in 2009. Artest has a history of playing exceptionally well for his first season with a new team until he goes off the deep end, and there was little reason for the Kings to hang on to him for another year when he'll be a free agent next summer. That said, it's even more incentive for him to raise him game and stay focused for the coming season as the Rockets get comfortable with each other. On the other hand, this was a team that won 22 consecutive games last season the last 10 without Yao reflecting what great chemistry they had. In that respect, Artest may very well be nitroglycerine.
1. Heartbroken in Seattle
The city of Seattle stunningly settled its lawsuit with Sonics owner Clay Bennett, allowing him to immediately move the team to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season. It was a horrific blow to Sonics fans, and surprising that it came the same afternoon a federal judge from Seattle district court was to rule whether the Sonics would be forced to play in KeyArena for the next two years in accordance with their lease. But out of nowhere, the city accepted $45 million with the possibility of another $30 million if Seattle has approval for the proposed $300 million renovation (half of it private money on the table from Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer's group, and another $75 million committed by the city) by December 2009 and another NBA team is not promised to Seattle by 2013. All the static of political garbage aside, Sonics fans were dumped on by not only Bennett, but Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz and his ownership group that sold the team to Bennett in 2006; and the Washington State legislature and governor; and NBA commissioner David Stern, who did everything he could to help orchestrate the move despite 41 years in Seattle. It's hard to believe the Sonics are no longer in existence.