Indianapolis — Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest said Wednesday that he asked coach Rick Carlisle for time off because of a busy schedule that included promoting a soon-to-be released rap album, which led to his two-game benching.
Artest held a short news conference before Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, and in his usual ambiguous manner, tried to explain why he was benched.
Artest said that he asked Carlisle for as much as a month off to heal his aching body and recover from a particularly busy schedule.
"My body has been aching, I was going to take some time off, and I said it the wrong way," Artest said. "Everything that happened wasn't too negative. I kind of surprised the team by wanting to take some games off, just to get back together, maybe stay home for a little bit, rest a little bit and come back."
He certainly surprised Carlisle, who said Tuesday that the situation, "compromised the integrity of the team. It's a private team matter, and I'm going to leave it at that."
"I don't know what that means," Artest said. "They probably expected a little more; expected me to play every game. Everybody's different. It's early in the season, so I feel like I could take some time off early and be ready for the long stretch."
So Carlisle benched Artest for Tuesday night's victory over Minnesota and Wednesday night's game against the Clippers. It is not a suspension, and Artest will not lose any salary. He will return Friday at Philadelphia.
The 24-year-old is scheduled to release his debut rap album later this month and has been spending a lot of time making promotional appearances.
"I've been doing a little bit too much music, just needed the rest," Artest said.
"I've still got my album coming out Nov. 23. After the album comes out, I'm going to make sure all of my time is focused on winning a championship."
It's the latest in a long line of controversial situations for Artest, ranging from destroying television monitors at Madison Square Garden two years ago to missing the team flight to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Detroit last season.