December 19, 2007 -- Two years ago - when Indiana put Ron Artest on the trade market - his agent told The Post that if the Queensbridge native wasn't dealt to the Knicks, he'd just opt out of the final year of his contract and sign with them as a free agent.
Some dismissed the idea, but with that deadline approaching in June, Artest says it's a possibility.
"No matter how much you think about it, it's going to present itself," Artest - now with the Kings - said last nigh.
"There's so many things you have to take into consideration: The season, my agent, the teams. It's definitely my decision, but you have to take advice."
Artest is earning $7.8 million this season and will make a relative-bargain $8.45 million next year, but can opt out of that final season before free agency starts on July 1.
With the Knicks over the salary cap, unless they do a sign-and-trade, they could only offer him the mid-level exception for five years, so he'd have to leave millions on the table.