Artest wants to stay with Rockets

Ron Artest wants to return to an amicable Houston Rockets team for a second season, the forward told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday, a desire the team's general manager says he would like to fulfill.

"I just know this team was so good, I think we'll grow together," Artest said.

The Rockets took the Los Angeles Lakers to a Game 7 in their second-round playoff series despite missing center Yao Ming and forward Tracy McGrady.

"He has a desire to come back," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told the Chronicle. "We have a desire to make it work. That's step one with a lot of steps from here."

Artest became a free agent after an extension wasn't reached during the season, when the Rockets agreed to put off any contract talks until after the playoffs, the report said. The Rockets were limited in what they could offer Artest in an extension, with raises over four years that could not have exceeded $37 million.

"It's going the right direction," David Bauman, Artest's agent, said. "Daryl has done an amazing job assembling a really good core of both young players and veterans for the future."

Artest averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds in 35.5 minutes per game this season, his 10th in the NBA.