NBA Rumors: Why Clippers Should Play Hard-to-Get with Lamar Odom

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Lamar Odom #7 of the Dallas Mavericks drives down the court against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 73-70.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Lamar Odom is a player that has to have his way and the Los Angeles Clippers could be the team to grant his wishes.

But while a happy and focused Odom will help the Clippers, the Clippers need to play hard-to-get with the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year. reports that Odom and the Clippers nearly appears to be a done deal.

"Lamar's agent is in talks with the Clippers," a source close to the NBA star told "He and Khloe are thrilled that he'll be returning to the team and that they will get to stay in LA and be close to their families."

However the Clippers need to do whatever it takes to drive the price way down on Odom.

The Dallas Mavericks found out how easily Odom can go into Operation Shutdown last season and if Odom doesn't get his way and a possible return to Los Angeles, he could easily do so again.

The fact is that with a return to the Lakers not an option, if Odom really wants to return to Los Angeles then the Clippers should make this deal happen for not much over the veteran's minimum.

They hold all of the cards here.

Odom needs the Clippers much more than the Clippers need him.

That, parlayed with the fact that he's coming off the worst season in his career, not only averaging 6.6 points and 4.2 rebound, but basically quitting on his team in the process and Odom has absolutely no leverage in negotiations.

Can Odom help the Clippers?

Yes, if he's focused on basketball, but if the Clippers don't use last season to their advantage in negotiations, then shame on them.

If they want to build a winner, then there's no sense in paying Odom more then a penny than they have to.

Have the Clippers turned the corner as a franchise?

If they don't play hard-to-get in negotiations with Odom, then likely not.