Lamar Odom’s career with the Spanish basketball team Baskonia (known as Laboral Kutxa) is over a mere two games after it started.
The former Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers forward returned to the United States with a spinal injury (lumbar radiculitis), terminating the two-month contract he recently signed with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, per US Weekly.
Odom did make an official statement to the team’s website Sunday in the light of the injury news, via Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
Now the journey's not over. I'm going to take care of this injury. ... I'm going to [recover] here [in the States] to try to get back on the court and give the people of Vitoria a show.
Me, Lamar Odom, as an athlete, I'm a little embarrassed. But at the same time, I'm proud to be able to say that I'm hurt and have a team that understands that I'm injured and that's still supportive. It means a lot. It helps me on and off the court.
Interestingly enough, Baskonia has sent Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Jose Calderon and Tiago Splitter to the NBA in the past, so if Odom had NBA aspirations, he picked the right club.
Odom almost did make it back to the NBA before the 2013-14 season began when Doc Rivers invited him to the Clippers’ practice facility. However, Los Angeles elected to sign the likes of Stephen Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu and Sasha Vujacic instead.
Looking forward, Odom’s best chance at returning to the NBA one day is by completely recovering from this latest setback and proving he can compete in a professional league somewhere.
Perhaps that somewhere could be the NBA Development League or an international team. After all, there was a time when Odom was known as a double-digit scorer from the stretch-4 position instead of for his high-profile marriage.
If Odom thrives upon returning to a professional basketball setting, a 10-day NBA contract may be the result at some point during the 2014-15 season.
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