Lamar Odom Is Safe Free-Agency Target for Los Angeles Lakers
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Lakers are intrigued by the prospect of signing unrestricted free agent Lamar Odom to a one-year deal. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles confirms that the Lakers have reached out to Odom.
With the Lakers in as much disarray as they currently are, targeting Odom is just about the safest thing they could do.
Even with a stellar core, they need help—something they're cautiously pursuing.
Lakers still interested in Lamar Odom, among others. But have only vet mins now after Kaman signing today— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 8, 2013
At this point, the only question is why not?
Odom has been a shell of himself over the past two seasons, failing to discover any form of consistency with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. While that may be a turnoff, that truth actually plays into L.A.'s favor.
Oh, the ups and downs of the NBA.
If this were July of 2011, the Los Angeles Lakers would be paying Lamar Odom somewhere in the market of $8 million per season. After two disastrous seasons with the Clippers and Mavericks, however, Odom could be available for cheap as he looks to prove he still has NBA game.
Who better to give him that opportunity than the team he won two titles with?
Odom has a mountain to climb before restoring his reputation, as the past two seasons have caused some to question whether or not he's hit his decline. By the numbers, it appears as if Odom is moving closer to retirement.
Two years removed from winning the Sixth Man of the Year award, Odom shot just 39.9 percent from the field for the Clippers in 2012-13.
If the Lakers are able to sign him to a deal for the veteran's minimum, it will be as risk-free a contract as they could find. Not only is Odom still a productive player on the glass, but the upside is there for him to return to form alongside Kobe Bryant and company.
That's the key to it all—familiarity.
For all of the hype about the ability of the Lakers' personnel in 2012-13, there was a blatant absence of of chemistry. From Mike D'Antoni's inability to use Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard simultaneously to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash's struggle to balance ball-handling duties, we saw it all.
How better to improve in that regard than bringing in a player that spent seven years with the team?
It's no secret that Odom left on unfavorable terms; he clearly took the failed Chris Paul trade to heart. With that being said, Odom formed a championship trio with Kobe and Pau Gasol in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
After two consecutive years of lackluster results, there simply is no better option for Odom than to return to the place he experienced his most significant success.
Odom has gone on record to say that Bryant pushes him to his limits and thus gets the most out of his abilities. With a growing reputation as an uninspired player, the only alternative for Odom is to latch onto a contender and contribute fewer than 20 minutes a night.
The question is, how would it work for L.A.?
According to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Lakers will amnesty Metta World Peace. This creates a major void at the 3, where the Lakers are also without Earl Clark, who signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With Kobe Bryant likely to shift over to the 3 when necessary, one thing is perfectly clear—the Lakers need to get as big as possible down low.
Pau Gasol is still an elite power forward and Chris Kaman should help as a two-way player at center. Jordan Hill is an excellent motor player that crashes the boards, but he's also a rough defensive presence.
Why not add a veteran with the ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter and facilitate before the void at small forward grows too strong?
The Lakers will likely be able to afford a reasonable replacement with World Peace becoming a free agent. Even if they are to bring someone in, versatility is something L.A. lacked during the 2012-13 season.
With Odom's track record and Kobe's unique form of motivation, there's no better chance than this for L.A. to see its sixth man return to form.
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