Cuban not sold on Artest with Lakers

DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Lakers opened the championship window for the rest of the Western Conference contenders by signing controversial swingman Ron Artest, according to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

"I tell you what, now that they've got Ron Artest, I couldn't think of anything better," Cuban said during an appearance on Dallas' ESPN 103.3. "If you would have said, what one player -- and I'll get killed over this -- what one player would you like to see on the Lakers? Ron Artest.

"Could you imagine? Ron Artest has got the ball, and Kobe's standing there, 'Throw me the ball.' Thank you, Ron Artest."

Cuban didn't back down off the air when given an opportunity to clarify his comments or elaborate.

"I think he'll add some character to that team," Cuban said with a smirk. "Whether it will be positive or negative will be interesting to see."

Artest played for current Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle with the Indiana Pacers from 2003 until he was traded to Sacramento on Jan. 25, 2006. Artest was suspended for all but seven games of the 2004-05 season for brawling with Detroit Pistons fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills

"Ron Artest is a great player," Carlisle said Friday night. "My first year in Indiana, he was an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year, so I know what he's capable of. It's just going to be tough [in the Western Conference]."

The Dallas Mavericks' road opener is against the Lakers on Oct. 30.