The Knicks signed Lamar Odom with just one game remaining in the regular season, but the move had nothing to do with the current year’s roster, and might not ultimately impact the team moving forward.
Odom has a strong prior relationship with Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson, and this was more of a gesture to give Odom an opportunity with a team to get back into NBA shape over the summer, and try and make New York’s (or another team’s) roster in time for training camp in October.
That effort is set to begin this week.
From Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Lamar Odom, Phil Jackson’s first player acquisition, will start his comeback at the Knicks’ training facility Monday. …
“He’s coming to town this week,” Jackson said in his first comments on Odom. “We know he’s a really good basketball player.
“He wants to put himself back together, and he has a chance to do that by having the whole summer to work at it and getting himself back in basketball condition to play. He told me that’s what he wants to do. Having a relationship with him. It’s a pretty good risk-reward situation for us.’’
Odom didn’t play in the NBA last year, reportedly due to alleged issues with drugs, but did sign on to play in Spain a few months ago before a back injury ended that short-lived project.
Jackson and Odom won two titles together while both were employed by the Lakers in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, and Odom took home the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2011 before L.A.’s title run ended at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Odom’s contract is non-guaranteed, so there’s no financial risk in the Knicks giving him a shot.
Phil Jackson has yet to put his stamp on the Knicks with a major move, not even a coaching hiring (unless you count signing Lamar Odom or firing Mike Woodson, whose departure seemed likely long before Jackson arrived).
But Jackson will eventually hire a coach (I assume), and he doesn’t want to stop there.
Adam Zagoria of TheKnicksBlog:
Knicks President Phil Jackson told point guard Raymond Felton during exit meetings last month that he will be traded during the offseason, a league source told SNY.tv.
This is where I think Jackson’s learning curve as an executive is steep.
Felton, who will turn 30 next month, is coming off probably the worst season of his career. He’s under contract for two more years at $7,744,006. Oh, and he’s facing felony gun charges.
Jackson doesn’t want that guy on his team? Who does?
Good luck trading Felton – especially without draft picks to convince another team to take him. The NBA’s other 29 general managers aren’t suckers.
So, what happens if training camp begins and Jackson hasn’t found a trade partner? Will Felton play his heart out for a team he knows doesn’t want him? Will the Knicks just waive him and accept the burdensome cap hit?
Unless this is some type of mind trick with Felton, Jackson has set himself up for a bad outcome .
If you have skills that are just hard to replace or replicate — say, if you’re a 6’10” point forward who can score and dish — you get second chances in the NBA. And third chances. And…
Which brings us to the case of Lamar Odom.
Odom is out of the NBA right now after a summer where he got popped for a DUI, was reportedly using some hard drugs, checked into then out of a rehab facility, had serious relationship issues with his wife (Khloe Kardashian) and generally seemed on a downward spiral. This after he flamed out in the NBA with Dallas then the Clippers the past two seasons.
But if he could pull himself out of that spiral, the Lakers and Clippers might be willing to take a look and give the 34 year old another chance, reports ESPN.
The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers continue to monitor Lamar Odom’s progress as closely as they can, and would consider signing the enigmatic free-agent forward should Odom prove that his personal and legal issues are behind him, according to sources with knowledge of both teams’ thinking….
Odom recently began training again with an eye toward making a return to the floor during the second half of the season, sources have said.
You can be sure both teams would be VERY careful about bringing Odom back. Very. The Clippers are 6-3, atop the Pacific Division and with a roster that is starting to figure itself out. Why would you throw a volitol player who brings a ton of tabloid media attention into that locker room? That said, the Clippers need more depth up front (no offense Ryan Hollins).
The Lakers certainly could use more talent up front as well (they are 4-6), but this is a team in transition and would they really roll the dice on Odom as a player at this point?
Because Odom, when he’s right, brings a unique skill set this is not out of the question. However, after the past two seasons followed by the mess he was last summer personally, it seems a real long shot any team would take a chance on him again.