Glasgow Rocks have stepped up their battle with Cheshire Jets to sign Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest after the star admitted he would consider a shock move to the British Basketball League.

With the NBA currently shut down due to a contract dispute between owners and players, a number of leading names are looking to head overseas to play basketball until the stand-off ends.

Both the Rocks and Jets have approached the eccentric Artest, who recently applied to change his name to Metta World Peace, to start next season in the BBL . “The teams aren’t good, but I’m going there to finish a movie, so why not?” he said.

And Rocks chairman Ian Reid confirmed that discussions have begun with the 31-year-old All Star to tempt him to Glasgow.

“We’ve been in touch with him,” he said. “We like whole-hearted players and he always gives 100%. He mentioned that we’re one of the teams in the UK he’d be interested in going to and we feel he’d be a better fit for Glasgow than Cheshire.”

Cheshire chiefs have also held talks with Artest, who won a NBA title with the Lakers in 2010. And despite the potentially large sums required to insure him against injury, they are confident they can pip Glasgow to his signing.

“We’ve spoken to him three times now and exchanged numerous emails,” said Jets director Peter Hawkins. “In the event of the lockout continuing in the NBA, he wants to continue to play while pursuing his interests in film and music. The UK can offer him that.”

The cost of ensuring the 31-year-old star – who has a five-year, $33m deal in LA – against a career-ending injury in the British Basketball League would likely run to a six-figure sum.

Artest’s agent has cautioned against a spell in the UK, arguing that his client would not get enough competition.

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