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LA Times Report: Artest Is Joining The Cheshire Jets (Maybe)

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Like merry olde England doesn't have enough on her plate right now.

In a move that will either quell or inflame the unrest tearing through London, Manchester and other English cities, Ron Artest seems very close to announcing a deal to join the Cheshire Jets for the duration of the NBA lockout. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times has the news:

Sometime in the next month, Lakers forward Ron Artest will be taking his talents to the Cheshire Jets of the British Basketball League, according to a person who was familiar with the negotiations but wasn't authorized to speak about it publicly. . . . It still remains unclear when will mark his first day in a Cheshire Jet uniform, but the team website indicates that its season begins on Sept. 30 and runs through April 22.

The BBL is a pretty terrible league. Even Jets director Pete Hawkins flatly admits that it's the "10th or 12th best league" in Europe. Artest will immediately become its best player and, for all I know, the best in its history. But even though the competition won't be taxing, this is something that'll keep him in shape and away from pro-am leagues where he could end up punching someone (cough Matt Barnes cough). And if we're lucky, he'll make friends over there with fellow expats Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow and return with a preposterous British accent.

J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!!

Update (9:40 p.m.): The LAT is now revising its report. Per Medina:

The Times previously reported that Artest would play with the Jets, although it wasn't clear when he would first put on the uniform, according to a person who was familiar with the negotiations but wasn't authorized to speak about it publicly. That person has since said they misunderstood the question and that the deal has not been finalized.

Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.