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Losing Lamar Odom: Does Jerry Buss Look Like He's Worried about Anything?

J VillaContributor IJuly 17, 2009

SANTA MONICA, CA - APRIL 12:  Actress Bai Ling and Dr. Jerry Buss pose at the Los Angeles  Lakers 3rd annual Mirage Las Vegas Casino Night and Bodog Celebrity Poker Invitational benefiting Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation at Barker Hangar on April 12, 2006 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images for Bodog.Com)

Damn. Jerry Buss is a playa!

Now that's out of the way...

If I had any influence whatsoever over the Buss camp, if they would even listen to me for five minutes, I'd lobby hard, I'd do everything in my power to get Jerry Buss to consider my point of view. My requests, in order of importance:

1. Let me be the official screener for all Lakers-girl tryouts. I'd be the sole person responsible for picking and choosing among all the fine applicants. He'd never have to worry about that part of the business again.

2. Resign Odom. It's important, no, crucial, no, paramount, that he does everything he can (within reason) to resign Odom.

There is no replacement for him. Don't kid yourself. No player in the league gives you what Odom can give you off of the bench. (I say off of the bench because clearly, there would be a few players in the league who could match or better Odom, but they wouldn't be coming off of the bench, that's for sure).

Manu Ginobili is yesterday's news. Odom is the best sixth man possible.

But...

Being an avid Lakers fan, I cannot fathom why so many people are writing an obituary for the Lakers' title hopes, and booking a spot in the obituaries section of the newspaper for the same day that the sports section reports that Odom is leaving.

Let me ask you a question. Think about your favorite team (if it's not the Lakers). Imagine the league disbanded and started a new league from scratch. Now imagine your team was given a nucleus of Kobe, Pau, Artest, and Bynum. Would you like your chances?

I think the talk of writing off the Lakers is premature, regardless of whether Odom comes back or not. What other four man nucleus in this league can honestly say that they are clearly superior? There are a couple who could claim to be equals, or close, but none who can say they would bet their money on being better.

Duncan, Manu, Parker, and Jefferson? Yeah, but Manu has as many good legs as this guy:  (impressive, I know). So yeah, that's really a 3.5 man core.

Garnett, Wallace, Pierce, and Allen? Yeah, but Wallace is as much (if not more) of a question mark as Artest, mentally. And honestly, look at the matchups and see who's better. Bynum or Wallace? I'd take Bynum. Garnett or Pau? Wow, tough call, but given KG's recent injury questions, and Pau's recent other worldly efficiency, I'd have to call this a draw. Pierce or Artest? Again, another close one, but I'll give this one to the Celtics. Kobe or Allen? Yeah, I thought so. So that's two wins, one loss, and one draw for the Lakers.

Dwight, Lewis, Carter, and Jameer? Again, let's look at the matchups. Dwight-Bynum? Yeah OK, D12 gets that one. Lewis or Gasol? Did anyone watch the Finals? I'll take Pau. Carter or Artest? Close, but Artest gets the nod. To pacify the Laker haters, I'll even call this one a draw. Kobe or Nelson? Are you kidding? Again, two wins, one draw and a loss for the Lakers.

Shaq, LeBron, Mo Williams and...yeah. Let's call that one three wins for LA (LeBron vs. Artest being the only loss, but it's closer than anyone else in the league—outside of Kobe—could come).

All in all, I'd say the Lakers still stand a very good chance of winning the title. And we still have to see if Odom resigns. I'd say Jerry Buss is in a very enviable position. And I'm talking about the team, not the picture above.

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