The Los Angeles Lakers Are the Favorites to Win Even Without Lamar Odom

bob bobAnalyst IJuly 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 6:  Kobe Bryant #8 (L) and Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers look on from the bench during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 6, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Sixers 119-93.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Since the beginning of the offseason, I've been very optimistic that Lamar Odom will be coming back to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The switching of Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest, coupled with Kobe's optimistic outlook in Odom returning to his rightful place, supported my hopes of Lamar coming back. But the road to bringing Odom back has been filled with speed bumps along the way.

From the Lakers rescinding Odom's contract a few weeks ago, to the "serious" considerations Odom is having in returning to the Miami Heat, the road has been, by no means, pretty. Instead, it has been the exact opposite.

Lamar's future is still not certain. Reports believe that the questions surrounding Odom to where he is going to be living next season will be answered in the next few days. 

I have been hoping that Odom's fate would've been answered much, much sooner. Now, due to the whole negotiations fiasco the Lakers and Odom has put the NBA world through, there is one thing that truly looks crystal clear to me.

No matter how important Odom was in the Lakers championship formula, he was not the key piece to the formula. Far from it.

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Odom is a versatile player that can average Sixth Man worthy numbers: 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. Even with those numbers, Odom was only the third best player in his team, behind fellow teammates Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

His best interest is with the Lakers if he wants to win another ring. The Lakers are still projected to win an NBA championship, with or without Odom.

Oddsmakers has the Lakers at a 2-1 favorite to win the Larry O'Brien trophy next season. Behind them are the Cavaliers at 3-1 and the Celtics at 5-1.

If Odom joins the Heat, he will only strengthen the Heat as playoff contenders, not championship contenders. The Heat only has a 25-1 odds at winning it all next season without Odom and a 22-1 odds at winning it with Odom. Not much of an improvement compared to the clear-cut favorites.

Odom will also receive the most amount of money per year with the Lakers even if the Lakers reduced their original offer of $27 million over three years.

Better money, better chances at another ring. What more could he want?

I guess we will have to wait and see how the Lamar Odom soap opera will end.

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