While I did not expect Artest to become a Maverick, it was because I thought he might actually stick it out in Sacramento. But tonight’s headlines tell us that Ron Artest will be headed to Houston in a trade for Bobby Jackson and probably Donte Greene.

Another opportunity bites the dust. How did Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson manage to spend so much energy and money getting Jason Kidd to Dallas and fail so miserably to shop Josh Howard? It can’t be THAT hard to trade him. He’s still pretty talented.

Sure, another trade could go down during the summer. That is not an impossibility. But Artest for Howard made the most sense. Dallas would have gained a confident defender and scorer who would have fit the need here nicely. Instead, Houston just became a much tougher team. The triple threat of Yao Ming, Ron Artest, and TMac launches Houston backinto elite Western status. That’s not including Shane Battier or Rafer Alston.

So what’s left for Dallas? Is there even a shot at Josh Smith? Shaun Marion? Anyone? I know a LOT of Dallas fans who will be sorely disappointed if Josh Howard is still on this team in November.