Lamar Odom: Why Signing with New York Would Be a Mistake

Joshua J VannucciniSenior Analyst IIIMay 27, 2012

EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks during a news conference at the Lakers training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

It is no secret that Lamar Odom’s value suffered heavily this season. After taking offense to his inclusion in a possible trade out of LA, he himself requested to be separated from the Los Angeles Lakers. They granted his wish and sent him away to the Dallas Mavericks.

In turn, he had the worst season of his NBA career. Odom averaged career-lows in every single category, and was eventually granted indefinite leave from the team. He still has $8.2 million remaining on his contract and the Mavericks have reportedly considered buying it out.

Odom has already mentioned he would be interested in joining the New York Knicks, which is a little premature seeing as he is still under contract with Dallas. However, if this move does go ahead and Odom is bought-out, joining NY should be an option he eliminates immediately.

When Odom played with the Lakers, he was a huge part of their success. Evidenced by his winning of the Sixth Man of the Year award last season, his production off the bench helped LA in numerous ways. 

He has averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds for his career, which demonstrates how well he performs in the frontcourt. Odom also has supreme ball-handling and distributing skills for his size, averaging 3.9 assist for his career. Posting 0.9 blocks and 0.9 steals also adds to the fact that Odom is incredibly versatile.

This season, he put up 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds and looked nothing like himself. Whether it was adjusting to his new team, the illness of his father or another off-court reason, Odom struggled heavily with the Mavericks.

Now, Dallas was not overburdened with big men this season. Their primary players in that regard were Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi.

After the first two names on this list, Odom should certainly have slid right in and contributed. Yet due to the aforementioned reasons, he did not. If his intention is to join the Knicks, his playing time and role will be lesser than it was with the Mavs.

As of now, the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler in the frontcourt. It is well documented Anthony and Stoudemire need the ball in their hands to contribute to the best of their abilities.

Unfortunately, so does Odom. He was often the playmaker for Los Angeles off the bench, as well as contributing as a power forward/center.

He will not be able to find a niche with the Knicks, similar to his situation this season. Odom needs to join a team where he can be one of the main players on the team. He is at his best playing third or fourth fiddle to a set of dynamic players. A team like the Houston Rockets or the Portland Trail Blazers would allow Odom to return to his old role.

While he could seemingly exist in NY, backing up Stoudemire, it is not ideal for his skill set. Both himself and Anthony are ball-dominant players, which in itself is not a bad thing, but Odom would struggle similarly as Stoudemire has next to Anthony.

Additionally, for the Knicks to reach out to him is a poor move from management. The frontcourt for New York is already set and does not need a solid contributor like Odom would be. Their main focus and financial space should be reserved for the backcourt, as the Knicks will already be over the cap by the time next season starts.

The only point guards currently under contract are Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert. If the Knicks really wish to contend for a championship, improving the backcourt must be priority No. 1.

Signing in NY is not the ideal location for Odom, and he should look to lesser teams where he will have a bigger role. He will be 33 by the start of next season, and can absolutely contribute. Limiting his role and production to join a team in awful shape will keep Odom in the situation he endured this past season.