Lamar Odom's Future in Los Angeles Rests in Whose Hands?

MR. MARKCorrespondent IJune 13, 2009

Wherever Lamar Odom ends up next season, it will all be because of Odom's own doing.

The Candy Man's entire career has been one of decent success, fused with a very bitter aftertaste.

His tenure in Los Angeles has been quite the same as well.

For any "other" player, Odom's entire career would be considered quite an accomplishment.

But again, we all remember when Odom was thought to eventually become one of the most dominating forwards ever to play the game.

The man gifted with such unique abilities easily had the skills to dominate the paint as well as outside the perimeter.

It was one thing to have a player capable of being great, but quite another to have a player who was given such natural talent, to the point where greatness seemed all but assured.

Although he will never live up to the potential people once believed he had, Odom is still a tasty treat for any team within the NBA.

Make no mistake, Lamar Odom has 99 percent control of where he will end up next season.

This news may seem odd, as many presumed the Lakers would eventually shut the door on Odom.

For the past two years, word has been that Odom was the weakest link within Los Angeles.

Andrew Bynum is regarded as the anchor of the Lakers for years to come, while Ariza is doing everything Odom just couldn't seem to do.

Very good defense, above average rebounding, decent scoring, and most of all a hard work ethic topped with consistency.

The Laker's brass will do anything possible to keep Pau Gasol, as he's fully established himself over Odom as the second in command.

The Lakers bench is further sucking out cap room as Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, and Adam Morrison are all ghastly overpaid.

Last but not least, there's no telling how much money Bryant will ask for within the foreseeable future.

So how could Odom possibly have control over his own destiny?

It's been known Odom desires to stay within Los Angeles and is willing to accept less money to stay with the Lakers.

Since all signs point towards the Lakers becoming the NBA Champions, it would seem likely the Lakers would willingly pay a moderate to heavy luxury tax to retain their players.

It's only a matter of how much the Lakers are willing to go over their cap space.

Odom has certainly made a case that he is tremendously valuable to the Lakers this postseason, in particular against Denver and Orlando.

If Odom has big aspirations to stay with Bryant, Odom wouldn't even have to take a tremendous pay cut. He's making $14.3 million this year, and the figures would only lower slightly per year if Odom indeed takes "less money" to stay in L.A.

In all likelihood, Odom will not leave the Lakers for another team just for a pay increase. Odom would have to get a deal that is clearly out of proportion, the likes of which only the Detroit Pistons and a select few teams could possibly offer.

(That option doesn't seem likely, as Odom's age doesn't play well for Joe Dumars and the rebuilding Pistons. Note that other rebuilding teams are preparing for 2010 as well.)

Despite Odom's lack of consistency and lack of motivation, the Lakers would not have the chance to be where they are without him—a simple fact that no one can dispute.

As Odom enters the later phases of his career, his chances to win NBA titles are running out—regardless if he wins it this year.

Odom knows he will never live out his ultimate potential, as he seems content to stay with a team that will always be favored to win the title year after year—with the guys they have currently assembled.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the most popular NBA franchise of all-time—they have the most successful coach in modern history—and the Lakers have currently have the best player in the NBA.

It's really no secret why Odom has expressed no desire to leave the City of Angels. It will be expensive, but the Lakers can retain both Odom and Ariza.

Besides, the Lakers could always trade Odom for something better if things do not work out in the end.

As for now, the Candy Man has complete control of which uniform he decides to wear for next season.