Skip to content

Del Negro says Odom can still play, but that’s not what is important right now

Sep 3, 2013, 12:57 PM EDT

Lamar Odom Clippers Getty Images

Lamar Odom the basketball player is and should be a secondary thought right now.

It is Lamar Odom the person that has hit a deep downward spiral, one that has culminated in a drug problem and a DUI arrest, who needs help. There are friends from the game around him trying to reach him, trying to help him back up on his feet. Whether he is listening to them or not, that is the question. But there is a lot of concern and genuine well wishes for Odom around the league — he was well liked by teammates, media and coaches.

Former Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is one of those, and he told the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Dwyer that basketball will still be there for Odom.

“He is a good guy, a good teammate,” Del Negro said from his home in Phoenix. “Everybody liked him. There were no issues. I understand he is going through a lot right now. It is never easy. He has always had some difficult obstacles and they weigh on him a lot. You feel bad, but you hope he is all right…

“Lamar can still play,” he said. “It’s not the basketball skills that are the problem. Once he gets himself in shape and gets his mind wrapped around basketball, he can help somebody.”

That’s not what all teams think — one executive told the Times “Lamar can’t play anymore.” Certainly his struggles on the court the last couple seasons and the fact he is 34 make you think a comeback is a longshot.

Maybe that comeback can help motivate him. Odom has had advantages in life but to know him is to know his life was not easy — his father was a drug addict, his mother died of cancer when he was 12, his child died of sudden infant death syndrome at six months, and while in New York for the funeral of one family member a town car he was a passenger in hit and killed a 15-year-old cyclist.

Odom has made his made his share of mistakes (the drug suspension early in his NBA career), gone through a lot and he persevered. That made him more than just another two-dimensional player, but someone real. Someone you could relate to because none of us have been spared some degree of tragedy. He was a case where you could hope for redemption.

I still do.

While I would love to see Odom back on the court some day, what I really just want to see is him and his laugh back around the game. I want that for him because it means he will have persevered again.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Wes Matthews reaches agreement to join Dallas Mavericks

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:19 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Sacramento had made a big push but again missed out on their target.

  2. Kenyon Martin announces retirement from professional basketball

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Martin had hoped to return full-time last season, but the opportunity never materialized.

  3. Report: Kings offer Wes Matthews three-year deal in $64 million range

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Sacramento needs to overpay much more than that to lure free agents.

  4. Report: Robin Lopez discussing $12 million per year deal with Knicks; Lakers also a consideration

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:22 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Lopez is solid, and New York and L.A. need talent after striking out with the big names thus far.

  5. Report: Wizards trading for Bucks’ Jared Dudley

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:07 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca

    The Wizards will only give up a future second-rounder.

  6. Report: Miami Heat’s Pat Riley will get dinner to try and woo LaMarcus Aldridge

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:37 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers AP

    It would take an unlikely sign-and-trade to make it happen.

  7. Report: Tristan Thompson and Cavaliers reportedly apart in contract talks

    Jul 2, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    Thompson and Cleveland were reportedly nearing $80 million-plus deal yesterday

  8. Tim Duncan says he’s not retiring

    Jul 2, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Getty Images

    Now, can the Spurs get LaMarcus Aldridge to complement him?

  9. Report: Pistons signing Aron Baynes away from Spurs for up to $20 million over three years

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes AP

    Baynes will reportedly get three-year deal with player option

  10. Report: Pacers agree to four-year, $44 million contract with Monta Ellis

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:23 PM EDT

    Donald Sloan, Monta Ellis AP

    Indiana shouldn’t feel good about this, even if it was their best option at this point

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5111)
  2. D. Wade (4464)
  3. L. James (3400)
  4. G. Monroe (3264)
  5. J. Embiid (3101)
  1. K. Bryant (2941)
  2. K. Love (2838)
  3. T. Harris (2830)
  4. J. Butler (2730)
  5. W. Matthews (2718)