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July 30, 2009

Lakers, Odom Make Right Move

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 6:08 pm

For the last couple of weeks, the L.A. Lakers and Lamar Odom have been trapped in a contract standoff. For both player and team, the best possible outcome was Odom re-signing with the Lakers. Yet, in order to maximize their leverage in negotiations, each side had to at least attempt to convince the other they would be amenable to Odom’s departure.

Had Odom signed with the Miami Heat or another team, he would have ended up making less money to play for a weaker squad less suited to his unique talents. Meanwhile, a Lakers squad without Odom would risk losing the status of being the favorite to win the Western Conference, let alone a second straight title.

Ultimately, it appears the Lakers called Odom’s bluff. According to J.A. Adande (who broke the story) and Marc Stein of, Odom is guaranteed $25 million over the next three years plus $2 million in year four should they decided not to pick up a team option for the 2012-13 season. That’s very reasonable for a player I ranked the third-best free agent on the market, behind only two restricted free agents (Paul Millsap and David Lee). Jason Kidd, lower on my list, got a very similar deal over the first three years, while Hedo Turkoglu ended up making more money than Odom.

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