A week after pulling their offer to him, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again talking to Lamar Odom about returning to the NBA Champions according to the Los Angeles Times.
Last week the Lakers actually had two deals on the table for the 6’10” forward. The first was a three-year, $30 million deal and the second was for fours years and $36 million. The four-year deal only contained a partially guaranteed fourth year, with a team option and a $3 million buyout. Apparently Odom’s people didn’t appreciate either offer and decided not to respond promptly, angering the Lakers and leading to end of those talks.
From the beginning Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, has reportedly been seeking a five year deal at $10 million per season.
The two sides apparently resumed productive discussions on Wednesday. While financial details aren’t available we’ve been hearing whispers from several different sources that a four-year, $40 million deal is close to being done. I honestly can’t vouch for how reliable that information is but I’ve heard it from a few different outlets independent of each other.
However, the Los Angeles Times is saying they believe the financial terms may have actually dropped from those initial offers because Odom’s people clearly didn’t get the kind of big-money deal they expected other teams to be offering. In short, their leverage has completely disappeared because the only team really in the hunt for him – the Miami Heat – can’t offer the kind of money the Lakers can.
Right now the Lakers have already allocated $83.8 million to 12 players for next season, which puts them $13.9 million over the luxury tax threshold. Would owner Jerry Buss really be OK with going over that hump by as much as $23 million? The answer is probably yes if he thought it could bring another title back in return.
Heat star Dwyane Wade made headlines last week as he reportedly called and tried to convince Odom to join him in Miami. Since then Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Magic Johnson have weighed in lobbying for Odom’s return to L.A.
We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.