Lamar Odom was drafted by the Clippers in 1999 (Getty Images)
It genuinely is good news that both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are paying attention to Lamar Odom’s recent basketball workouts, because that means Lamar Odom is actually working out, and presumably in better shape than wherever he was physically and mentally in the months since his last NBA game earlier in 2013. The former Laker and Clipper would seem to have an outside chance with either team if his contributions at least approximated what he gave the Clippers over a decade ago, or the Lakers from 2004 to 2011, but his last two seasons with Dallas and the Clippers would seem to put that hope on the kibosh.
Still, it’s nice to know that Odom has a ball in his hands, and is giving an NBA comeback one last go. From Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein at ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com that the Clippers and Lakers -- who both registered interest in signing Odom this past summer until his private life became a near-daily subject for the tabloid media -- will have renewed interest in the 33-year-old if he indeed makes a comeback this season.
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.
Sources stressed, though, that neither the Clippers nor the Lakers have had recent contact with Odom beyond calls inquiring about his personal welfare.
It’s important to point out that this sort of news likely came from Odom’s camp, which is fine, but also something to consider. I mean, it’s not as if the Clippers and Lakers are randomly calling up two reporters in Stein and Shelburne (two very good and well-sourced reporters, I should note) to give Lamar Odom updates. Not when the Lakers (who already have 15 players, the league maximum, on their roster) can’t even technically sign him right now, and not with the Clippers now having twice let Odom go over an offseason because of financial and off the court concerns.
Worse, for Odom to even make it back to anywhere near the sort of shape we saw him in just two and a half years ago, when he won the league’s Sixth Man Award, it would turn into a comeback for the ages. Because he’s been that bad since 2011.
Forget the rumors about various addictions and meltdowns. Let’s just focus on what’s on the record: Lamar Odom has been miserable for two seasons in Dallas and Los Angeles since Odom’s Lakers were swept by the Mavs in the second round in 2011. He wasn’t in anything close to game shape, he’s missed nearly 63 percent of his shots from the field in that time, and just over half of his free throws. Odom turned the ball over at a ridiculous rate, his defense was poor, he clashed with the owner in Dallas, and his passing wasn’t strong enough to overcome the fact that teams were playing off of him.
He turned 34 earlier this month, he’ll cost $1.4 million at the absolute minimum, and if he joined either team in Los Angeles, he’d be joining a team already paying the luxury tax.
That’s just the basketball side of things. We’ll leave the off the court nonsense to other websites. Go read those.
For years Lamar Odom was one of my favorite basketball players. For years his ability to rebound, push the ball and dish was one of the league’s most entertaining marvels, a loping 6-10 all around demon that could destroy an opponent in myriad ways. I badly miss that player.
Whatever happened to Lamar Odom between May of 2011 and December of 2011 – or, more likely, whatever combination of things that happened to Lamar Odom during that span in and in the nearly two years that followed – sent his NBA career off the rails. We’re happy to hear that he’s working out again, but to expect Odom to turn into anything resembling a capable NBA player at this point is a huge, huge reach.
And we’re just as sad as you about it.
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