One of the most anticipated free agent signings of this offseason has finally come to a close and it's official: Lamar Odom will remain with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He will be signing a four-year deal worth $33 million dollars with a team option on the fourth season.
Dwyane Wade was actively pursuing Lamar Odom, even coming down to Los Angeles in person to talk to his former teammate and urging him to take less money to come back to Miami.
In the end, Lamar Odom made the right decision in coming back to Los Angeles because this is where he fits best and this is where he wants to be.
It was pretty obvious that he wanted to remain a Laker since he waited so long to make a decision.
Lamar Odom only used the Miami Heat as bait so that the Lakers would give him a better contract. If he really wanted to go back to Miami, he would have done it already.
The mere fact that he waited on the Lakers' reaction meant that he wanted to know how the Lakers would react.
Keep in mind, that this is also the team that traded him for an aging Shaquille O'Neal that was only able to put up a couple good seasons in Miami.
Now realizing what they let go, they made a strong effort to get him back.
Lamar Odom loves the city of Los Angeles, playing nine of his 10 seasons here. He started his career here in Los Angeles as a Clipper playing for four seasons before signing with the Heat and then being traded to the Lakers.
He publicly stated several times that he wanted to retire as a Laker.
And yet there were people out there who actually thought—or maybe they were just hoping—he would sign elsewhere.
So they got Lamar Odom back.
Now they will win another championship.
That's right, I'm going to call it. You can't stop me.
The best team in the NBA made the biggest improvement by signing Ron Artest over Trevor Ariza.
It's very simple to understand, if you really want to.
Don't worry. We'll analyze this deeper for those who really want to deny it.
Lets first look at what the Lakers have going into next season.
Their starting lineup will consist of: Derek Fisher (PG), Kobe Bryant (SG), Ron Artest (SF), Pau Gasol (PF), and Andrew Bynum (C).
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are the All-Stars of this team. No doubt about it, it's their leadership, talent, and understanding of the triangle offense that has gotten them to an NBA Championship this season.
Then there is Derek Fisher, who is not an All-Star but is a veteran leader. He has won four championships with the Lakers under the triangle offense, and he has an understanding of the game that's makes him very important to the Lakers young guards.
After that there is Ron Artest, the only change on the Lakers roster. The only thing that Trevor Ariza was better at than Ron Artest was athleticism. Artest has the edge in everything else. But you will always have doubters who are hoping that this signing will end up as a flop.
But guess what?
These are the same people who hoped Lamar Odom would sign somewhere else. Artest will be able to guard players that wear Kobe down, meaning Kobe will have more energy to do his thing on the offensive end.
For example, if you looked at the Lakers-Nuggets series this past season, you will notice that Carmelo Anthony was no match for Trevor Ariza defensive skills because Anthony was much stronger than Ariza.
Kobe Bryant had to guard him and that wore him down, but not enough because he was still able to close games.
What if Kobe didn't have to guard Carmelo Anthony because we have someone stronger to do that?
Who may that be, you ask?
He can guard these players that give Kobe Bryant a headache, and not only that but if needed, he can produce points on the offensive end. There is no doubt that he has a better offensive and defense game than Ariza.
He has also matured a lot since the Nightmare on Pistons Street fiasco that suspended him for a season.
This is a much better player and he has proved it in his tenure as a Houston Rocket.
Next there is Andrew Bynum who has only been slowed down by knee injuries in the past couple seasons.
Rest assured that he will come back next season will a chip on his shoulder especially with the contract that the Lakers gave him. He has improved physically ever season and you can tell just by looking at him.
If you were a betting person, would you bet that Andrew Bynum's statistics increase or decrease next season?
That's a pretty impressive starting lineup if you ask me, and I challenge you to come up with one that is better—a real one.
Oh but wait, before I forget.
There is one more player for the Lakers that makes a difference. He's the whole reason, this article even came to be, Lamar Odom.
His versatility and leadership coming off the bench makes him one of the most valuable sixth men in the league. He can play any position and he gives the Lakers that spark off the bench in order to make a difference in the game.
Also, if one of the Lakers front line players goes down with an injury, it won't matter. Lamar can come off the bench and fill the void just like he did last season when Andrew Bynum was injured.
This is the best team in the NBA.