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Report: Knicks close to signing Lamar Odom for remainder of season (and maybe next)

Apr 15, 2014, 3:07 AM EDT

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Phil Jackson is going to give one of the players he liked best from his Los Angeles Lakers days a tryout to get back into the NBA.

Following up on an earlier report, Lamar Odom is close to signing a deal to be with the New York Knicks the rest of this one and maybe next season, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks are on course, barring an unforeseen snag, to formally sign Odom this week in a move that would put him on their roster immediately and, more importantly, include a team option for next season.

Structuring the deal this way, after a tumultuous 12 months for one of Jackson’s favorite players when they worked together with the Los Angeles Lakers, would give the Knicks two months before free agency begins July 1 to get the 34-year-old into their program and start working with him.

Consider this a tryout for Odom. Also consider this a favor from Jackson to give Odom a chance.

Odom was a key part of Jackson’s most recent title teams in L.A., but after the lockout and the Lakers trading Odom it became a downward spiral for him that included arrests and drugs and a stint in rehab.

Earlier this season he played two games in the Spanish ABC league but injured his back and left that team.

It’s a bit of a gamble for the Phil Jackson, but with a capped out roster next season where it will be hard to move players — this year’s roster that didn’t make the playoffs will be similar to next season’s — he has to take some risks. If it doesn’t pan out he moves on, but he’s giving a friend a chance. It’s a very Phil move.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:43 AM

    You take risks on someone who might still have some game left. He was through long before his “alleged” chemical issues.

  2. supremekingz - Apr 15, 2014 at 5:13 AM

    You’d be surprised what people do when their back is against the wall and it’s do or die time

  3. thegonz13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:13 AM

    Khloe happy!

  4. ravenswhat - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:32 AM

    Amazing how many chances this guy gets. He’s clearly in huge decline as well.

  5. abchome - Apr 15, 2014 at 7:55 AM

    The rest of this season? What for?

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      I was thinking the same thing…..they can’t have more than two games left.

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      Lamar is a great leader and one of those guys who keeps the locker room together. This is a chance for him to get in there early and get some time with the knicks’ personal trainers so he can be a real contributor next year. This will end up being a good move by Phil.

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        He lead his family really well didn’t he… great leader and all…

      • spursareold - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        He’s a crack head.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        “He lead his family really well didn’t he”

        Wow… what an undeserved shot at Odom. By all measures he seems like a good guy that just got caught up in drugs… he’s got personal problems, no one is perfect, I see that since you’re casting the first stone, you must not have any sins of your own.

      • therealhtj - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:58 AM

        He’s been of little use to anyone on a basketball court since the CP3 debacle with the Lakers. He was in obvious decline the last time he suited up for the Lakers in 2011. Sure he was a good locker room guy by all accounts, but teams need guys that can produce. I can’t see him being of any real value 4 years later.

        Obviously with the horrific cap situation the Knicks are looking at, the only moves they’ve got left are reclamation projects like this. That said, keeping Lamar engaged when he was at his physical peak AND being among the best paid players on his team was a challenge. Now on the wrong side of 35 by the time next season starts, I can’t see this ending well.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        “He was in obvious decline the last time he suited up for the Lakers in 2011. Sure he was a good locker room guy by all accounts, but teams need guys that can produce.”

        Lamar Odom was the 6th Man of the Year in 2011. He was producing just fine then. He struggled the next year with Dallas, even more with the Clippers the next year and did not play this last season.

      • therealhtj - Apr 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

        And here I thought you only had enough bullets in the gun to defend Kobe, but here you go running to the defense of a guy who quit on the Lakers because they had the gall to trade him for a top-5 NBA star. You fans keep focusing on what players brought to the team in years long gone can’t seem to see them for what they are today. It’s also why you can’t seem to understand why your franchise keeps disappointing.

        Great he won 6th MOY, and proceeded to absolutely disappear in an embarrassing 4 game sweep at the hands of Dallas. So yes, he was in decline from his previous peak during the 09-10 championship seasons despite receiving the only award of his overpaid career.

        Lamar was a fine player who never quite lived up to his potential. He had the talent to be a superstar and never even made an all star game. He may have had a lot of tragedy in his life that might’ve been what derailed him, but he’s at the point in his career where he can’t really bring much to a team.

        This is a low risk move by the Knicks, but it’s not one I can see panning out for either them or Odom. They’ve got keepers in Shumpert and Hardaway, combined with Melo and a healthy Chandler can be a playoff team next season – possibly one with homecourt in the first round if the east is this bad again next year.

    • alexb1234 - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      he is signing for the “rest” of this year and next year so he can be a possible trade piece in the offseason as an expiring contract AND if he is not traded he will be a vet that knows the triangle offense when phil brings in his coach…..trust in the zen, he has a plan….

      • casualcommenter - Apr 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM

        ^This. I’m definitely a Lamar Odom skeptic who thinks he’s done, but there are some advantages to signing him now.
        First, he could still have something left in the tank.
        Second, as you mentioned, if he’s truly washed up, he could be used as a trade chip that a new team could just buy out after a trade given that he’ll be a relatively cheap expiring contract.
        Also, as you mentioned, he could be a “coach on the floor” to teach players the triangle.

        It’s easy to make fun of the move on its face, but if you think about it, there are some solid reasons for the move that even people like me who think he’s done can understand.

      • arrondior - Apr 15, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        I think people also are forgetting how productive Lamar was when healthy and happy as a 6th man. He was basically playing at an all-star level coming off the bench when he was traded to the Mavs and everything fell apart. If Jackson can get this guy happy and healthy again, He will be a cheap roll player that plays good defense at the PF position who can also handle the ball and create some of his own shots. I think Helin is right on point this time. This is a gamble with such little down side, that I don’t really get the negative responses.

        NOTHING Phil can do, will make the Knicks a good team next season. But they can change the culture and start migrating towards a winning system now.

  6. henryd3rd - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    Phil, tell me this is your idea of a joke? This is one time I feel James Dolan should be interfering.

  7. sportsnut1197 - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Signing him now has something to do with enabling him to be at off season workouts earlier than signing him after.

  8. campcouch - Apr 15, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    I’m not a Lakers fan,but I can see that Phil Jackson influenced Lamar Odom a lot. He was a solid citizen the whole time around Jackson,and I’m sure he was mentored daily. He did make a big stink about being traded from LA and maybe that’s why. He finally had some guidance in his life. You never know how being around him again may change his life for the good.

  9. sportsfan18 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I’m a long time Bulls fan, since the mid 1970’s as I’m old…

    I’m a fan of Phil and respect what he’s done in the game…

    We all know the Knicks have been a wreck under Dolan and I had (have?) high hopes for Phil and what he can do… but for Phil to even THINK about this shows me it’s NYC as it’s ALREADY gotten to Phil after just a few weeks…

    Amare’ saying they are the best team on paper? Lunacy there at the Knicks organization.

    Lamar WAS a good pro and had a couple of VERY good seasons… WAS being the operative word…

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      It’s not like they are maxing him out or anything. He used to be an all-star caliber player and he’s only 34, so I find it interesting that people with short term memory can’t comprehend that he can even be a bench contributor in this league. A lot of his problems were mental and Phil can help him get better and be in a good environment back home. Even if he stays on the bench, he has a good effect in the locker room. This is an example of Phil taking very little risk to get someone who may be able to help, what’s the problem?

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        aboogy

        you said it, he “used” to be an all-star caliber player…

        could he be “fixed”? possibly. some can and some CAN’T.

        I very well may be wrong but I see Lamar in the CAN’T side of the ledger…

        His drug issues have not been resolved. he went to a treatment center and walked out in like a day.

        no one can tell me there aren’t at least a FEW guys around the league Phil could put in the place the Lamar would take that would NOT need to be “fixed” by Phil.

        Let OTHER teams take issues, problem children. you only need 14, 15 guys on your roster.

        put it this way, ALL the OTHER teams will have bodies on their bench in the role that Lamar would serve on the Knicks… So the Knicks don’t have to take Lamar.

        I said he was good in my previous post, even VERY good. but that is in his rear view mirror.

        IT’s about constructing a team, a roster. The Bill Belichicks can take a chance, a flyer on players because they have a system and he lords over the team and they may cut the player if trouble ensues…

        A team like the Spurs and pop may take a flyer, or the Heat with LeBron, Bosh, Wade, Riley can try a mike beasley…

        but WHY should a team like the Knicks, who did NOT tear it up this year and NEED to get stronger take a CHANCE that on a player that might wash out because his heads still not on straight?

        The knicks are not in a position to gamble like this. they are not dealing from a position of strength.

        If the situation were different, it could be worth it but not with the way the Knicks are currently constructed and with their recent history it isn’t wise…

  10. sportsnut101 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:11 AM

    Is this a phil move or isiah thomas move come leave this joker on the streets to smoke all day he had his chances more then 2
    He is soft mentally we all know now 6 10 n should of been a way better player over his career. Toni kukoc was way better

  11. cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    What a pathetic franchise. What’s next Metta World-Peace? Why do I have to be a Knicks fan??? Phil Jackson is going to leave New York in two or three years. Oh well, go Pacers!

  12. clevelandschronic2 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    Oh boy the knicks are loading up to make a title run.…… opps forgot they didnt make the playoffs. That melo trade really turned out great for the NYK huh. Their is no reason why melo couldnt get the knicks to the playoffs in the weak east. This proves melo cant lead a team and that he is very overrated. Next year wont be any better either, 3 max contracts and no draft picks. Lmfao not even god himself couldnt fix this roster let alone phil.

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      so the man has been to the playoffs all but one year in his career, (last year), and brought the knicks their first playoff vicotry and ten years, but he’s overrated? Gotcha.

      • clevelandschronic2 - Apr 15, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        Wow melo got into the playoffs 10/11 times big deal. Jeff teague and millsap got atl in the playoffs are they superstars(like everyone claims melo is)? Melo cant even get the knicks into the playoffs or even out of the first rd. Melo doesnt make his teammates better, plays no Defense and he is a ball hog, But ya go ahead and continue to believe melo is a superstar, you’ll be disappointed again. It wont get any better next year especially without any cap space or draft picks. Funny thing is Brooklyn walked into ny and instantly became the best team in that state lmao. Knicks will continue to be overrated and overhyped like they have been the last 15 years unless they can unload all the max contracts(melo,amare,chandler) and rebuild.

    • cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      According to A’mare they have the most talented roster. But now I think this team is better than the 90s Bulls. Imagine if they sign Metta World-Peace. Scary, right? Phil Jackson heart is at L.A or Seattle not New York. What a pathetic franchise.

  13. kb2408 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Great! I’m thrilled for L.O. I cheer for all former LAKERS, well, that is unless they leave for Houston. But he wasn’t really a LAKER anyway. L.O. was!!

  14. clownsfan - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    And Khloe is at the Jets facility angling for that 2nd team OLB spot……….

    • cantonb0und13 - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Can they sign Raymond Felton to be water boy? #BeingaKnicksFanShouldBeIllegal

  15. SBoy - Apr 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    It’s a low risk move, because he is not going to cost the knicks:
    1-much money
    2-a roster spot in 2015 (if he doesn’t earn it) when the real fun begins for them.
    3-If he plays well that speaks for itself
    4-if he plays somewhere between acceptable to okay he earns a bench spot
    5-if he plays to where he doesn’t earn playing time, he can still help the rest of the team learn the triangle in practice.
    6-players with rings can be good to have around…

    If he sucks and or is a distraction he gets cut fairly quickly, no harm no foul.

    • turkbox420 - Apr 16, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      He pawned his rings for crack though…

  16. 00maltliquor - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Now Melo’s staying for sure. The Knicks have a plan finally.

  17. azarkhan - Apr 15, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Only the Knicks would be so ignorant.

  18. kb2408 - Apr 15, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Andrew Bynum next?

  19. mogogo1 - Apr 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Low risk but the idea they’d need Odom to teach guys the triangle is kind of comical given there’ll be a whole coaching staff to do that. Jackson may love his attitude and hope that rubs off on guys, but they definitely do not need him to teach the offense to the team.

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