Late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly pulled their three-year, $27 million offer to Lamar Odom, off the table. Lakers owner Jerry Buss is reportedly upset that neither Odom nor his agent Jeff Schwartz have responded to the NBA Champions’ latest offer. Schwartz has not contacted the Lakers despite (reportedly) carrying on conversations with both the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks.
As late as Monday night it was being reported that the Lakers had offered three years and $24 million, obviously they upped the offer in a final attempt to lure Odom back. Lamar and his agent are known to be seeking a five-year, $50 million package that will not come from anyone.
The puzzling part of this saga is that the Mavericks and Heat can each only offer Odom their mid-level exceptions, worth only $5.8 million a year. They could sign him to the maximum five-year limit under those deals, but that would only net Odom just around $30 million over that span, whereas he could earn $27 million with the Lakers in three and be in line for another contract. He’d also be contending as a Laker and while it doesn’t look like the Heat or the Mavericks will be in contention any time soon.
To me this seems like an agent feeling insulted by a team so he’s looking elsewhere for his client. The smart play would have been to take the Lakers offer at $9 million a year. Instead, Odom could be forced to go elsewhere because his agent couldn’t pick up the phone and respond to the latest offer.
I still believe Odom will remain a Laker for several reasons. First, Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant want him back, badly. They would have liked to have Trevor Ariza back, but he was replaceable. Odom is not. Especially not with what is out there on the maket. Second, the Lakers have Odom’s Bird Rights, so if they sign him he doesn’t count against the salary cap. Anyone else they bring it will. And lastly, Odom has repeatedly stated that he wants to remain in LA. I think this gets sorted out over the next few days and he’s back in Laker Land next season.