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L.A. Lakers: Keeping Up With Lamar Odom

The Pros and Cons of Bringing Back the Former Player

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | After an offseason that's been covered more by TMZ than any sports channel, Lamar Odom has been working out to get himself in shape for a possible return to the NBA.

First, there was a DUI arrest, and then a variety of odd reports: domestic troubles, going missing, checking into rehab and checking out of rehab the next day. He's been a tabloid star and seemingly better suited for the Kardashian horde than an NBA team.

However, injuries and disappointing performances have a few teams expressing interest in Odom -- formerly one of the best all-around players in the game. Despite his two most recent terrible seasons, he does seem to have at least some defensive value for a team.

Odom is one of quite a few formerly decent to good players that are looking for work - along with Tyrus Thomas, Chris Wilcox, Drew Gooden, Daniel Gibson, Corey Maggette, Jamaal Tinsley, Marcus Camby.

There are rumors that Odom has a "verbal deal" with the Los Angeles Clippers -- the first team he ever played for. He has also been rumored to be interested in the Los Angeles Lakers.

Let's take a look at the PROS and CONS of the Lakers bringing back the big man:

PRO: Rewarding a former champion

Odom was a big part of the two most-recent Lakers championships, sacrificing his own personal statistics to be the third, fourth or even fifth banana. His ability to play three positions on offense and defense were crucial in the team making three trips to the NBA Finals. He also did so while also agreeing to below-market contracts.

CON: Penalizing the team

Odom has had a bizarre summer and while I certainly hope that his troubles are behind him, it's quite rare that things turn out that well so quickly. The Lakers already have the problem of Kobe Bryant's return and they probably don't need to make things more complicated by bringing in Odom and all his baggage.

PRO: Might have some fire left

He really hasn't been very good of late and it looks like the Lakers moved him just in time. But Odom isn't really too old, and getting back to a team that respects him and a fanbase that adores him might give that extra edge. Also, just being able to stay away from his Kardashian affliction could be incentive enough.

CON: The fire has burned out

Two years is a long to time to be not very good at basketball. Even if that was the result of being upset after being dumped by the Lakers, we're not talking about a few bad months. Odom has been terrible for two full seasons. And that was on two different teams, so you can forget about the old "change of scenery" bit.

PRO: Old pro could mentor the younger players

The Lakers are a very interesting team right now. They've done better than I and many others thought. They've done all of this without Kobe or Steve Nash. It's a team of Pau Gasol and then a bunch of young guys and reclamation projects. Odom's played for years and could almost be a player/coach, teaching some of the tricks of the trade.

CON: Old pro might mentor the younger players

As good as he's been on the court over his career, he's had a heck of a time off the court this past summer. Until recently, most people in the Lakers organization and around the NBA wouldn't have hesitated to endorse Odom on a personal level. But the tide has drastically changed and bringing in a player with that many personal problems could adversely affect the younger guys.

Overall, it seems like adding Odom to the Lakers roster would be more trouble than it's worth, and I'm sure most Lakers fans would prefer to remember him as he was and not what he is.

Besides, letting the Clippers take on the Odom circus is probably the best move the Lakers could make here.

Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a sportswriter. You can find him on Twitter @JedRigney.

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