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July 2, 2009

Report: Artest set to sign with Lakers

Ron Artest has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, the free agent forward told CBSsports.com in a text message.

Artest said in the message he was in Los Angeles to complete a deal with the Lakers and he did not care about the money.

The Los Angeles Times reported the Lakers could pay Artest as much as $32 million over five seasons, which would actually be a pay cut. He made $7.4 million last season with the Houston Rockets.

League rules prevent a free-agent deal from being officially announced until July 8.

With Artest on the court, the Rockets reached the Western Conference semifinals last season for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign. He previously played three seasons with Sacramento.

In a 12-year career with four teams, Artest has scored an average of 16.1 points per game.

Artest could replace Trevor Ariza on the Los Angeles roster. The Los Angeles Times --which reported Thursday that Ariza was unhappy with the Lakers offered -- said the free agent forward had been offered a deal by the Rockets.