Los Angeles Lakers: Why the Team Should Re-Sign Lamar Odom This Offseason

Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IApril 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 12:  Lamar Odom #7 and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers leave the court during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers must welcome Lamar Odom back as soon as the offseason begins. 

According to a report from ESPN's Marc Stein, Odom and the Dallas Mavericks have cut ties. In a statement to ESPN.com, Odom said this:

"'The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,' Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com.

"'I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.'"

Odom was an essential part of the two championships the Lakers won from 2008-2010. In 2011, Odom won the NBA's Sixth Man Award for his consistent contributions off the bench. He also played the role of insurance policy whenever Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum went down with an injury or needed a breather.

According to a report from NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper, Kobe Bryant is going to try bringing Derek Fisher and Odom back to the Lakers next season. 

"Kobe Bryant is planning a hard push to recruit Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom back to the Lakers as free agents in the summer, a source familiar with Bryant’s thinking told NBA.com as Fisher prepares to return to Staples Center as a member of the Thunder."

Odom was the glue that kept the Lakers together when they started to fall apart, and so far this season, it seems like the Lakers miss his services. 

Both Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts have not really contributed to the team the way Odom used to. Murphy is hit or miss from the three-point line, and McRoberts is only a high-energy guy. Odom would make three-pointers, pull in rebounds, handle the ball and do pretty much anything the Lakers asked him to do. 

The place where the Lakers miss Odom the most, though, is on the bench.

Bench play has been terrible for the Lakers this season. If Odom were on the team this season, the Lakers would have probably won a couple of more games because of stronger off-the-bench play. There were some games where the team's bench was not even able to score more than 10 points. 

Odom would bring life back to the Lakers bench if he were brought back to the team this offseason. However, LO might play another role for the team if he is brought back.

Gasol's name was all over trade discussions during the season, and many expect him to be shipped out to another team this offseason. It only makes sense to trade Gasol since the Lakers are still weak at the small forward position and on the bench.

So, who better to replace Gasol as a starter than Odom?

Odom has started plenty of games for the Lakers, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers. And when he starts, he is just as effective as when he comes off the bench. 

If LO comes back to the Lakers, he will not be affected by the demons that haunted him in the 2011-2012 campaign. He will be back home where he belongs and free of distractions.

Odom is still mourning the loss of his 24-year-old cousin and the shocking event of killing a pedestrian while he was a passenger in a car. Basketball players have emotions, too, and Odom is no exception. The problem with him is that he is too emotional for his own good, so maybe bringing him back home after he takes time off will benefit him.

The Lakers should not offer Odom a big contract because he is not worth that much anymore. Sure, he still has talent and a lot left in the tank, but it seems like his distractions might get in the way. A humble contract for Odom might light a fire under him to continue playing hard. 

Whether or not he is brought back either to be a starter or a bench player, the Lakers must bring Odom back if they want to improve their team without breaking the bank. 


Sammy Sucu is a Featured Columnist for the WWE. Sammy also writes for the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can also follow him on Twitter.