And cooler heads prevail as the Lakers un-pull their previous offer and Odom realizes he’s not going to get a better one for a better situation. It’s interesting that this got put back together just as people were starting to enter doom-and-gloom on the Lakers territory, a la Bill Simmons’ last column. Without Odom and with so many other strengthened contenders that was a totally justifiable outlook, and it’s almost as if everyone involved with the situation simultaneously thought “wait, what the hell are we doing?” and picked up the phone. The deal itself is eminently fair for a 29 year old major cog on a title winner who’s been almost unnaturally consistent on a year-by-year basis, and will be expiring just about the time the window closes on this Lakers core. The rare bit of NBA business in which everyone can be happy with the outcome, except rivals.
It would be intensely shortsighted for either party to walk away now, most likely. Odom is in a perfect situation where he can make excellent money as a #3 star on a title-winning team, live in a city he clearly enjoys and play in a familiar, comfortable set-up; the Lakers have a player who fits their offense and locker room perfectly, is really in the prime of his career and offer versatility and the sort of unselfish link-play which is very difficult to find in a player with the ability of Odom. And the fact is, Odom may just be colossally underrated: different measures of value have him in different places relative to the league, but to take one- according to basketballvalue’s 2 year adjusted +/-, Odom was 9th last year in the entire league- only one spot adrift of Kobe Bryant. The same measure actually had him narrowly outperforming Kobe in the playoffs this year. There’s a lot of issues with +/- which are mostly related to sample size as I understand it, but using 2 year irons a lot of those out and those have been 2 very durable years for Odom; I’m inclined to think there’s something to the figures at this point. The Lakers are far too good for this to kill them if Odom really does head to Miami or Dallas, but Ron Artest, good as he can be, does not make up for the loss of both Trevor Ariza AND lamar Odom.