After spending the worst season of his career with the Dallas Mavericks, it appears that Lamar Odom could be headed back where it all began. According to a report by Marc Stein and Chad Ford of ESPN, Dallas is looking to send Odom back to the Los Angeles Clippers, where Odom spent the first four years of his career after the team took him fourth overall in the 1999 draft.
Under the terms of such a deal, which also would include the Utah Jazz, Odom would head to the Clippers, the Mavericks would reacquire Devin Harris and the Clippers would send Mo Williams to Utah. This trade would also allow Dallas to dump what remains on Odom's contract.
Long story short, though he carries a risk after an awful 2011-2012 season, the Clippers must make sure that Odom is on their roster in the next couple of days. They defied all expectations last year when they finished fifth in the ultra-competitive Western Conference this past season, and bringing Odom aboard could easily help them improve and potentially usurp the Lakers as the kings of L.A.
Look at it this way: In four years with the Clippers, Odom was the lone bright spot on what were some pretty bad teams. Despite sitting out due to a drug suspension at one point, he was generally well-liked. He also averaged 15.3 points in those four seasons, before becoming a restricted free agent and signing with the Miami Heat after the Clippers didn't match the offer.
In the following years, Odom became a more complete player. Also, he has great size at 6'10", 230 pounds and can play both forward positions. On a Clippers team that could use some help on the defensive end of things, he could provide some great depth behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
On top of that, Odom has proven that he can be a top contributor off the bench.
Let's not forget that he was named Sixth Man of the Year just one year ago, when he averaged 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers. In his time wearing the purple and gold, he proved that he could not only be a valuable scorer who could stretch the floor, but also drive hard to the basket and pull down some rebounds.
If you think about it, his lone year in Dallas can be considered a fluke for a couple of reasons. First, there's always the possibility that he was ill-prepared for the abbreviated season.
More importantly, however, let's not forget that Odom was a piece of the proposed trade that almost saw Chris Paul go to the Lakers. And after it fell through, he requested a trade to a contender because he was hurt that the Lakers hadn't let him know of the plan to begin with.
That all being said, considering how he has just one year and with about $8 million left on his contract, there is no reason that the Clippers shouldn't make the deal for Odom. He knows the fanbase and the city well, and he would give the team some much-needed depth on both ends of the floor.
Should the deal be finalized, the Clippers could very well become the team to beat out West.