Kobe Bryant thinks there’s a good chance that Lamar Odom will re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, after talks have soured between Odom and team owner Jerry Buss there have been a number of rumors about the versatile forward heading to multiple destinations not named Los Angeles, including New Jersey and Miami.
The New Jersey rumors are unlikely to bear any fruit, but the Miami Heat appear to have the best chance of stealing Odom away from the defending champions. Why? Because Odom played there in the 2003-04 season and his house is still located in Miami.
Dwyane Wade even told the Associated Press that he wants Odom “to come home.”
Nevertheless, there are big reasons why heading to even Miami is unlikely for Odom.
As Craver notes on Fantasy Basket Blog:
First, Odom would be taking a pay cut of roughly $9 million. The Heat can only offer him a little above the mid-level exception which would be just below $6 million a year. Where as he already had an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers at $9 million a year for three years that he sat on for too long before the Lakers decided to pull the offer off of the table.
Second, Dwayne Wade may be on his way out the door himself for free agency after next season. He has said that he would sign an extension if the Heat committed to rebuilding toward a Championship, but he would leave if they weren’t able to convince him that they were truly making the effort. Is signing Odom enough for Wade or would he need the Heat to do more? Does Odom want to risk being locked into a contract and be stuck on a team without a bonafide star should Wade choose to leave?
Two very valid points.
Still, Odom’s reputation precedes him in situations like this. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him squander a perfectly wonderful opportunity to make a feasible trip back to the Finals with his newly revamped defending-champion Lakers team, especially now that Ron Artest is likely to cut into his minutes.
Craver’s prediction? “My money is on the Lakers resigning Odom to a contract around 4-5 years for $35-40 million.”
I’d be a bit more conservative and expect a 3-4 year deal for about $27-35 million with the Lakers as the most likely outcome, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Odom spurn the Lakers for another team, like the Heat or even the Portland Trail Blazers.
Now we’ll see where Odom’s heart is at: with the chance at another ring, or with more money and/or playing time.
If Odom stays with the Lakers, his fantasy value will take a hit. If he heads east to join the Heat or heads north to join the Trail Blazers, his value will see a boost.
Here’s to Odom not making an oh-so-dumb decision.
Update: Now Derek Fisher is getting into the act: a post titled “Trying to Bring Lamar Odom Back” is now up on his Web site. Odom must feel really important these days.