May 24, 2012, 1:38 AM EDT
Right now, Lamar Odom is the Dallas Mavericks draft day trade bait — they are going to be shopping him and his $8.2 million contract around. And there will be interest because Odom can be bought out by June 30 for $2.4 million — that’s a big savings. If nobody else buys him out, Dallas will.
Bottom line is come July 1, Odom will be a free agent.
He will have a few suitors but he would like to be in New York, reports ESPNNewYork.com.
But a source with knowledge of Odom’s thinking says the New York Knicks would be “on the top of his list” if the Queens native becomes a free agent.
“Lamar is big on being comfortable,” the source said. “And New York is somewhere he can be comfortable.”
No doubt comfort will matter to Odom — after the shake ups of the last season it will be his biggest priority — but my guess is it will not be in New York. The Knicks are already over the salary cap so all they can really offer is a $5 million mid-level exception and they likely have to use all of that to keep Jeremy Lin. If they get lucky in the ruling by an arbitrator and the Knicks don’t need to use the MLE on Lin expect them to go after Steve Nash or another point guard with that money.
After that, there is no real money to offer Odom unless he wants to play for the veteran’s minimum in NYC.
I expect he will go somewhere he’s played before. The Lakers could use him but couldn’t offer much more than the Knicks. The Clippers would be an interesting fit but they are looking to spend their offseason money on a two guard and wing depth.
Maybe the most logical option is he takes the MLE to play for the Heat. He’s played in Miami before, so he’s comfortable, plus if you’ve watched the playoffs you know they could use his versatility and scoring depth along the front line (plus Dwyane Wade will recruit). Wherever he lands I expect we’ll see something closer to the old Odom that really benefits his team. And really, really pisses off Mavericks fans.
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