Is Odom Done in LA?
Lamar Odom is the owner of skills uncommon for a player of his size and a personality that his teammates love. He is a newly crowned NBA Champion and was a key component of the L.A. Lakers team that overcame its "soft" label to win the right to be called the best.
So why doesn’t he have a team or a contract at the moment?
Odom is one of the highest profile free agents still on the market. Most of the others have found a team to play for next season, whether it’s under the most ideal circumstances or not. Among those that haven’t (Allen Iverson), there are questions of talent and attitude. Among those that have are players whose talent is unquestioned (Ben Gordon, Ron Artest), but whose ability to win is. Others are unproven (Marcin Gortat), unpredictable (Rasheed Wallace), ill-fitting (Shawn Marion) or indecisive (Hedo Turkoglu). Odom seems to be the safest bet of them all, yet he hasn’t signed on the dotted line.
It appears the issue might be money. Odom admitted recently that talks between he and the Lakers have not been going as well as he hoped. Some of the things he says in that story make it clear that he wants to be a Laker. That’s a smart decision, seeing that he has found his niche with the team and that they can offer him the most money.
Odom might be wise, however, to take whatever the Lakers are offering instead of continuing these negotiations. While he notes that these processes can take a while to work themselves out, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says that he’s "not as hopeful" that the team can come to an agreement with Odom and that "perhaps" it’s time to move on.
There is rumored interest from teams like Dallas, Miami, San Antonio and Phoenix, but his role on those teams would be unclear and, apart from the Spurs, winning another championship isn’t likely. And there is the pay cut that he’d have to take. Maybe he should ask former teammate Trevor Ariza about how this works with the Lakers. Ariza also wanted more money than he was being offered and was left to watch as someone better than him (the aforementioned Artest) was brought in as his replacement.
Odom may not have to worry about being replaced with someone better, but he certainly seems to be close to being shown the door. And it would be a shame if he were left outside when teams started to contend for a title.
What should Odom do? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.