According to ESPN, the Knicks are Lamar Odom’s first choice when/if he hits free agency this season. The Mavericks can trade him up until June 29, but afterwards he is free to hit the pool of free agents which includes the likes of Deron Williams, Roy Hibbert and other notable players.
There are two questions that the New York Knicks have to ask before they even entertain the idea of bringing Odom in.
Are we running the risk of dealing with the same beleaguered player the Dallas Mavericks did?
This is a very important question to take into consideration. In Dallas, Odom was not same sixth man of the year we saw with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was not even a fraction of that player.
He was reduced to an emotionally battered man on the court and could not will himself back into playing the game. The Mavericks were expecting a productive man off the bench, maybe even in the starting lineup.
After dealing away Tyson Chandler, a major component in their road to a championship title, the Mavericks were looking to rebound with quality size at a discounted rate. Instead they were treated to one of the most enigmatic seasons Odom has ever had.
Would things really be different with the New York Knicks?
There would be huge differences in each scenario. Odom was heading to Dallas as a castaway. He had been threatened with the botched trade that included Chris Paul and his feelings had been hurt after he had performed to a pretty decent level for the Los Angeles Lakers.
His exit from the Dallas Mavericks does not carry such emotion, as he never really arrived in the first place. Odom really hadn’t built any strong relationships like he had with the Lakers’ players and his removal from the team was strongly desired by both sides.
Going to New York could be the fresh start to a better outlook on basketball and a better Odom. It’s a possibility that as a Queens native, this is where he was supposed to end up all along.
If we bring in Odom, then who are we running the risk of letting go?
The New York Knicks have a lot of decisions to make as far as who to re-sign among those who are already wearing a Knicks jersey. Jeremy Lin is New York’s headliner on the free-agency market, but the Knicks can match any offer from another franchise.
This is where things get tricky, because whether or not the Knicks bring Lin back could weigh heavily on the results from arbitrations of players who have been waived, should the Knicks retain their Bird or Early Bird Rights.
If Lin's Bird or Early Bird Rights are reinstated, then the Knicks can go over the salary cap and sign both him and a player like Steve Novak while exceeding the salary cap. They would also be allowed to use the $5 million dollar mid-level exception.
If not, then the Knicks will use their mid-level exception on Lin, restricting who they can go after in this summer’s free agency.
Odom knows that he would have to take a hefty pay cut from the $8.2 million he was set to make this season, but the Knicks may not be able to make a dent in his former salary if Lin’s rights are not restored.
It is crazy to think that the Knicks would see fit to let Lin go in free agency just to run the risk of signing Lamar Odom and being dragged through a similar debacle as the Mavericks were.