In the end, it was the best scenario for both parties. Why it took so long to complete the signing is a different story. After a month of playing cat and mouse, the Lakers have re-signed forward Lamar Odom to a 4-year, $33 million deal (with a team option on the fourth year.)
Originally, Odom was unhappy with the Lakers' initial offer of three years, $27 million because he wanted at least a 4-year deal which L.A. was not willing to do at the time. The 29-year-old forward was so frustrated that he broke off negotiations with the Lakers to pursue other opportunities. However, in these tough economic times for many teams in the league, all that was left for Odom was a mid-level exception (a return to Miami was the hottest rumor with Dwayne Wade even flying to L.A. to try and convince him) that would have only earned Odom about $5.8 million per year which would have been a significant paycut from the original offer from the Lakers.
Both sides would have been pretty foolish not to agree to this deal. Yes, Odom felt he deserved more money, but it just wasn't realistic for him to receive a more lucrative deal in this buyers market.
Statistically, Odom's 2008-2009 season was the worst of his 10-year NBA career. His scoring and assist averages were the lowest they had been since entering the league in 1999, mainly because Odom was coming off the bench due to the emergence of Trevor Ariza. Yet, Odom is still a very crucial piece to the Lakers' chances of a repeat. He is one of the most versatile 6-10 players in the league with the ability to play several positions and act as a point forward on the offensive end. Plus, he has embraced being a role player, and playing second, third, even fourth fiddle to the talent around him.
His most valuable role on the Lakers next season might be that of Ron Artest's keeper. Odom and Artest are boys from back in the day, and Odom should help keep Artest in check next season, hopefully eliminating any chance of any crazy spats that could disrupt the Lake Show's chemistry. (By the way, did anyone else see Bill Simmons' report that Artest walks around everywhere in his underwear and even showed up on a team bus filled with staff and team supporters in just his boxers? I shouldn't be shocked by this story, but I still totally am.)
Bringing Odom back at a very affordable deal gives L.A. one of the most formidable crunch-time lineups in the league. When Odom, Kobe, Artest, Gasol and Fisher are on the floor at the same time, what are you going to do? You key in on Kobe, and Fisher can knock down an open three as he's proven time and time again. You can't sag off Odom or Artest, or leave Gasol open underneath.
As you can tell, I'm buying the Lakers again next season and think the Odom deal cements their status as the team to beat in the West.
@Black&Gold Problem is that you see Eli and Cobi as solid backups. Truth is that Eli is number 2 and Cobi is our number 3. They aren't backups, but starters. So what you're saying is that we have no true number 2, but see no need in drafting a receiver? What D line depth are you thinking? DE or NT? Have you seen what LT Walton has done? Remember he's only in his second year.
@Steelr Fan 3:16 Coates was supposed to be plan B at number 2 with the uncertainty of Bryant. You make the case that he's a one trick pony and not a 50 catch per season wide-out, so does that scream out as a option for number 2? What gives you hope about Green? I hope he does end up staying on the field, but so far in his career he hasn't be able to do that. I like James, but if he goes down you trust Grimble? He can't block, and hasn't been reliable in the pass game. He did mess his ribs up with a nice touchdown reception a few weeks ago. That still doesn't mean he can pick up and be an impact if James would not be able to go. We have 7 picks in this draft. The first I hope goes OLB. We are good at CB with Burnes and @[email protected] will be challenged hopefully by Golson. Loser of the battle would be a good slot corner. Golson lacks length so they may throw him in the slot role anyways. LT Walton has been more than solid at DE. If Heyward or Tuitt can't go a few weeks during the season then I have faith in LT to get the job done. I like Chickillo and Moates at OLB. They have started and played solid. Williams and Dirty Red at backup ILB is good depth that any team would love. Safety we have Golden and Dangerfield. Both have started any didn't miss a beat. Offensive line? Yeah, we're good there. You say we're good at tight end and WR, so with or final 6 picks we're going what exactly? A RB would be nice with Williams age. A backup that won't see the field unless God forbid Bell gets hurt is a wasted pick anywhere in the top 4 rounds. Maybe 5th would be suffice. That's 2 picks gone and 5 to go. A backup QB of the future would be nice. Four to go. A special teamed lol? Warren, Boswell, and Berry are really good.