If the New York Knicks lose out on pursuing free agent point guards like Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks or Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, there is the possibility out there in signing Lamar Odom to the mid-level exception. Odom is likely to get released by the Mavericks after a very rough 2011-12 NBA season, freeing him up to sign with any other team in the league.
I think that Odom poses a very interesting question for the Knicks, especially if he can bring the talent that he showed as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. I think that Odom is still a player capable of scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds every game, but the real trick is to make him care about his new situation.
It is no secret that Odom got a shock to the system when the Lakers simply dumped him during the last NBA offseason and he brought a lot of drama and baggage to Dallas. Owner Mark Cuban thought he was pulling off a steal with that trade, but instead Odom averaged just 6.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. He didn't see a lot of action down the stretch and it seems like only a matter of time before the two sides part.
I think it is very possible that Odom receives offers from other contenders, including the Miami Heat. He could become a good fit for the Heat by coming off the bench, especially because he already has a good history with the franchise. Playing with Miami for the 2003-04 season, Odom averaged 17.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game before getting traded to the Lakers for Shaquille O'Neal. He found a lot of success in Los Angeles, but maybe it was because Phil Jackson knew just how to get that energy out of him.
I still think that the Knicks need to work hard at bringing in a veteran point guard to help out Jeremy Lin, but if those options fail, I think taking a chance on someone like Odom actually makes sense. He is not the perfect player by any means, but I think that the size and length he offers on the court could play really well with a second unit. The Knicks' front office would need to believe that he actually cares about playing again though, otherwise this could become a time bomb waiting to go off.
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*Ryan Christopher DeVault is a fan of the New York Knicks that has followed the team since the days John Starks, Charles Oakley, and Anthony Mason instilled their defensive will on the rest of the league.
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- Lamar Odom
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