Phil Jackson is going to give one of the players he liked best from his Los Angeles Lakers days a tryout to get back into the NBA.
Following up on an earlier report, Lamar Odom is close to signing a deal to be with the New York Knicks the rest of this one and maybe next season, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks are on course, barring an unforeseen snag, to formally sign Odom this week in a move that would put him on their roster immediately and, more importantly, include a team option for next season.
Structuring the deal this way, after a tumultuous 12 months for one of Jackson’s favorite players when they worked together with the Los Angeles Lakers, would give the Knicks two months before free agency begins July 1 to get the 34-year-old into their program and start working with him.
Consider this a tryout for Odom. Also consider this a favor from Jackson to give Odom a chance.
Odom was a key part of Jackson’s most recent title teams in L.A., but after the lockout and the Lakers trading Odom it became a downward spiral for him that included arrests and drugs and a stint in rehab.
Earlier this season he played two games in the Spanish ABC league but injured his back and left that team.
It’s a bit of a gamble for the Phil Jackson, but with a capped out roster next season where it will be hard to move players — this year’s roster that didn’t make the playoffs will be similar to next season’s — he has to take some risks. If it doesn’t pan out he moves on, but he’s giving a friend a chance. It’s a very Phil move.