INDIANAPOLIS — Ron Artest is no longer the Indiana Pacers' problem.

The volatile forward was traded Wednesday to the Sacramento Kings for former All StarPeja Stojakovic, more than a month after demanding a trade and one day after the deal seemingly fell apart.

The deal ends a turmoil-filled career for Artest in Indiana and eliminates the biggest distraction the Pacers faced this season.

"We're gamblers," Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said before Sacramento played the Knicks in New York on Wednesday night. "So we're going to take a chance on him."

Artest first requested a trade in December, after it was rumored that he would be dealt to the Kings for Stojakovic. The Pacers deactivated Artest after his trade demand.

"This was the trade that more or less led to Ronnie saying he wanted to be traded," Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said at a news conference. "He heard it on the air and that was not true. And we really didn't think there was any hope to do the deal back then."

And when it appeared Artest would, indeed, be heading to the Kings on Tuesday, he reportedly balked at playing in Sacramento.

"We don't know that," Walsh said. "We just know that something happened. It got called off. And we talked to Sacramento again this morning and realized there could be a deal."

Artest changed his mind after meeting with Walsh at Conseco Fieldhouse on earlier Wednesday.

Indiana spent several weeks searching for the right deal, nearly sending Artest to the Los Angeles Clippers for Corey Maggette before reviving talks with the Kings in recent days. This trade has actually been rumored for three years, with the Kings thought to have needed Artest's defense as much as the Pacers needed Stojakovic's offense.

Artest is due to make $7.15 million next season and $7.8 million in 2007-08, with an $8.45 million player option for 2008-09. His defensive presence and infamous instability should be an intriguing fit with the Kings, whose franchise makeover now has a more defensive look.

Stojakovic also could be the outside shooter Indiana has needed since Reggie Miller retired after last season. "Obviously, we're very happy about getting a player of (Stojakovic's) caliber," Pacers president Larry Bird said in a statement. "He's one of the best shooters in the league and we definitely feel he can help us right away."

But it also rids the Pacers of a player who has made the inexplicable seem routine.

He was suspended for the final 73 games and the playoffs last season after charging into the stands and fighting with Detroit Pistons fans in one of the nastiest sports brawls in U.S. history.During his career in Indiana, Artest also was disciplined for kicking a ball into the stands, throwing a television camera and twice jawed with Miami Heat coach Pat Riley during games.

His latest indiscretion, demanding a trade in an interview with an Indianapolis newspaper, was too much for the Pacers to handle.

Since coming to Indiana in February 2002, a trade-deadline deal with the Chicago Bulls, Artest has been one of the Pacers' top players — when he has stayed on the court.

He earned an All-Star berth and recognition as the NBA's defensive player of the year in 2003-04. He led the league in steals and averaged 19.4 points per game this season before his trade request and subsequent deactivation.

In Stojakovic, the Pacers get a new start.

He was the Kings' longest-tenured player, joining the club as an unheralded 21-year-old rookie in 1998 and becoming a three-time All Star. But he is expected to void the final season of his contract to become a free agent this summer, and Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie decided to get something in return for his most successful draft pick.

THOMAS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: New York Knicks team president Isiah Thomas is accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by one of the team's former front-office employees in a federal lawsuit.

Anucha Browne Sanders claims Thomas made unwanted sexual advances toward her and refused to stop, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan. Thomas and Madison Square Garden are listed as the defendants in the lawsuit, which charges them with sex discrimination and retaliation.

According to the lawsuit, the 43-year-old Browne Sanders sought assistance from her supervisor, Steve Mills, the president of Madison Square Garden Sports, but said Mills didn't do anything about the situation.

Browne Sanders, who had been with the team since 2000, claims she was fired as the Knicks' senior vice president of marketing and business operations last week as a result of her complaints. Thomas was not available for comment Wednesday at the Knicks' morning shootaround, but the players were quick to support him.

"I know Isiah and I know he's an honorable man," Stephon Marbury said. "I know that he's a guy filled with a lot of character, so I think everyone here is on his side."

The lawsuit also alleges that Thomas told Browne Sanders he was pushing for more home games at noon on Sundays. His plan, according to Browne Sanders, was to have opposing players go to certain clubs, including strip clubs, that Thomas had connections with on Saturday nights and get them drunk so they would be sluggish for the game the next day.

"These fabricated and outrageous charges come from an individual whom MSG fired because of an inability to fulfill professional responsibilities and who is now seeking a financial windfall," attorney Ron Green said in a statement on behalf of Madison Square Garden. "We have always been proud of how our employees are treated, as evidenced by the fact that we have consistently taken appropriate action when employees have engaged in inappropriate behavior. We will fight these outrageous charges and defend our employees from baseless allegations intended to embarrass and harm them."

The Knicks would not comment further on the matter Wednesday.

Lawyers for Thomas, Peter Parcher and Sue Ellen Eisenberg, called the lawsuit an attempt to make money and accused her of demanding $6 million upon her departure, more than 20 times her salary.

Browne Sanders said the problems began shortly after Thomas joined the Knicks in December 2003, and she repeatedly complained to management about his inappropriate behavior.

In court documents, Browne Sanders said Thomas often berated her, and made crude comments about her to Knicks officials, telling them not to listen to any of her directions. Marbury also is accused of acting in a hostile way toward her as a result.

Browne Sanders said Thomas' behavior soon became sexually charged, saying he told her he was "very attracted" to her and "in love" with her and tried to kiss her. She charges that last month, he hugged and tried to kiss her, and when she pulled away, he said, "What, I can't get any love from you today?"

"I've known him since I tried to recruit him in high school and he's a phenomenal human being," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "And the Knicks have always treated me well, so I guess I'll let it play itself out."

Browne Sanders said she met with a human resources management consultant hired by MSG twice last year, and told the consultant about Thomas' conduct. After Browne Sanders sought legal counsel last November, MSG launched its own investigation but told her to not come to work for three weeks. She was fired last Thursday when MSG said her claims couldn't be substantiated.

Browne Sanders, the team's chief marketing officer, graduated from Northwestern as the Big Ten's women career scoring leader and was a two-time conference player of the year. She was the school's athlete of the decade for the 1980s.

According to the team's media guide, Browne Sanders is married with three children, and resides in New Jersey.