Lakers are playing hardball with Odom

Trevor Ariza tried to play hardball…and lost. Lamar Odom tried to play hardball…and the Lakers aren’t budging. If anything, they’re less interested in bringing Odom back.

Odom’s choices, as of lunchtime Thursday, were the same choices he’s been mulling all week. Informed sources say the Lakers’ latest offer is in the area of $25 million over three years, down from the $27 million over three years that was taken off the table earlier this month by Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

As ESPN.com reported Monday, should the 29-year-old decide to reunite with Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley after haggling with the Lakers for so long, Odom likely will be deciding between a five-year, $34 million deal that includes a provision to return to free agency after the fourth season or a four-year deal with an opt-out clause after three years.

Keep in mind that with California’s state income tax (10% for $1 million-plus), the Lakers’ offer is essentially three years for $22.5 million, or $7.5 million per season. Florida has no state income tax, so Miami’s offer (~$6.8 million per season) looks to be the better offer since it has about $12 million more in guaranteed money. If these numbers are accurate, it makes sense why Odom is dragging this out. It seems like he wants to stay in L.A., but he doesn’t really want to take a reduced offer.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

The latest on the Lamar Odom saga

Jim Hill reported yesterday that Odom was scheduled to meet with Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade about joining the Heat.

Talks have resumed with Odom and the Lakers, but they remain pessimistic that Odom will return.

Hmm. This is the first I’ve heard about the Lakers being “pessimistic.” All of the national coverage of this story has suggested that it’s pretty much an inevitability that Odom will return to the Lakers.

The LA Times Laker Blog has this to say

Read the rest of this entry »

Odom should re-sign with the Lakers

…at least according to Ball Don’t Lie

Once you’ve moved past your favorite team, the basketball fan’s best interest is served in seeing the absolute from the squads that are left, playing into June. It’s why we don’t want to see Joe Johnson leave the Suns. It’s why we’re bummed that the Lakers had to give up George Lynch and Anthony Peeler in order to clear space to sign Shaquille O’Neal — because we want those role players working alongside the big fella.

It’s why we want the Magic to pass on matching Marcin Gortat’s offer sheet with the Dallas Mavericks. Sure, Gortat gives the Magic a chance to be the best they can be, but in replacement of Erick Dampier, Gortat really, really, really gives the Mavericks a chance to be as good as they can be. It’s why we want minutes for Tyrus Thomas, shots for Andrew Bogut, health for Yao Ming, and new owners in Memphis, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

I’ve never liked the Lakers, mainly because I’m not a fan of Kobe and his drama, so I’m rooting for the Heat to steal Odom away. I’d also like to see Miami be relevant again in the upper echelon in the East, and signing Odom to a mid-level deal would go a long way towards that end.

Ultimately, if Odom were going to bolt to Miami, I think he would have done so already. The fact that he continues to negotiate with the Lakers indicates that he probably would rather stay in L.A.

Odom leaning Miami?

Yes, at least according to a Yahoo! Sports source.

Odom has not reached a final decision, the sources said, but there is growing belief he will ultimately return to the Heat unless the Lakers improve their current offer.

“It’s close, but it’s not done,” said one source.

Lakers officials and Odom’s representatives resumed talking after a weeklong standoff that began when Jerry Buss, the team’s owner, withdrew a four-year, $36 million offer that guaranteed $30 million. Sources close to Odom said that while the two sides have since talked, Buss is now offering less than the Lakers’ previous proposal.

I still don’t know how the Heat’s offer of five years and $34 million is better than the Lakers’ offer of four years and $36 million (which works out to around $32 million after state taxes). Surely, Odom would be able to make more than $2 million in the year after the Laker deal expired. But hey, I’m not an accountant.

Or maybe he’s ticked off that Buss is offering less and wants to go to an organization that has demonstrated that it really wants him. If Miami can get Odom at the mid-level, it will be a coup, though it will create something of a logjam at power forward since that’s the position the Heat want Michael Beasley to play.

If the Lakers let Odom slip away, they will be going backwards this summer. The Ron Artest signing is nice, but Artest does not offset the loss of Odom and Trevor Ariza. With the Spurs, Blazers and Mavericks nipping at their heels, things could get very interesting in the West.

Note: John Ireland of 710 Los Angeles has reported that the fourth year of the Laker deal is only partially guaranteed (for $3 million), so the best deal that the Lakers offered was for $27 million over three years plus a guaranteed $3 million in the fourth year. So, after state taxes, that’s worth about $27 million over three years. It now makes sense that Odom would consider taking the five-year deal from the Heat since that deal offers as much as $7 million more in guaranteed money, maybe more if the Lakers’ latest offer has been reduced.

Lakers and Odom negotiating again

While some are reporting that Lamar Odom has already come to terms with the Lakers, the Los Angeles Times are simply reporting that he and the Lakers are talking again.

The discussions were labeled productive, but there was nothing to report “at the moment,” according to a source familiar with negotiations who was not authorized to comment publicly.

It didn’t look great last week for Odom’s return to the Lakers after the franchise yanked its offers of three years and $30 million or four years and $36 million, with the fourth year only partially guaranteed.

But the sides began communicating in a more positive light Wednesday. Financial details were not immediately available, though the Lakers were not expected to have improved their initial offers. If anything, the offers might have dropped slightly.

Odom doesn’t have a lot of leverage. The Lakers are offering him the best deal he can get, and the other teams with cap space don’t seem too interested in his services. He’d be willing to play for Miami, but the best that they can offer is the mid-level exception, and it simply doesn’t compare to what the Lakers are wiling to give him (even after state taxes are taken into account).

With the Lakers back at the bargaining table, all signs point to Odom’s eventual return.

Related Posts