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It's Decision Time for Lamar Odom

Benny BlancoContributor IJuly 29, 2009

Reports are coming out of Los Angeles that free agent Lamar Odom will decide between his former team, the Miami Heat, and his current team, the L.A. Lakers, in the next day or two.

The decision seems pretty straightforwardeither take more money and a shot at a string of championships with the Lakers, or jump ship for a little less money and a first-round exit from the playoffs with the Heat. 

But like everything else with the Lakers these days, nothing is simple or straightforward.  If we're to believe what is being reported, this is no longer about the money or the championships for Lamar. This is about respect.

But respect is a two-way street.  After all, Lamar repeatedly told everyone after the recent championship run that he would take less money to stay with the Lakers. But here he is, only a month later, about to take less money to play for the Heat. The same team that traded him away along with Caron Butler and Brian Grant for Shaq only six years ago.  

Who exactly is disrespecting who here?

The Heat are understandably chomping at the bit to sign Lamar for the mid-level exception. But there's more to this than love tweets from Dwyane Wade.

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Lamar Odom 'still' owns a home in Miami. He loved playing for the Heat.  He went from being Wade's tutor to Kobe's whipping boy. Anybody who saw the documentary, “Kobe Doin' Work," knows exactly what I mean.    

So maybe this isn't just about respect. Maybe this is a decision between being a big fish in a small pond (Miami) or a small fish in a big pond (L.A.). Going from the sixth man on a championship team to the starting power forward on a struggling playoff team.  

Laker fans are understandably confused by all of this.  

Why would he even think about leaving the Lakers for less money to play for the same team that traded him away in the first place? A team that has no real shot at a championship.  A team that hasn't even secured its best player to a long-term deal.

Why? 

Only Lamar knows. And maybe that's why he's taking so long to decide.  

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