The Los Angeles Lakers have told troubled sixth-man Lamar Odom that if he goes to rehab — immediately — he’ll have a spot waiting for him on their roster once he checks out.
Mitch Kupchak, the general manager of the Lakers, offered the sensational lifeline to 33-year-old Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, “because the organization and the Buss family are extremely concerned about him,” according to a source with knowledge of the situation, who spoke exclusively to RadarOnline.com.
Said our insider: “Lamar is really resisting rehab, even with the Lakers’ offer on the table. He doesn’t want to miss training camp. Lamar thinks he can kick this on his own. It’s very hard for him to admit that he needs help.”
A reunion of sorts has seemed inevitable for months, before any of the rehab news surfaced. Odom’s career plummeted into the depths of oblivion upon being traded from the Lakers, and returning to where he was last (and most) successful just makes sense.
That said, Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters reports that the Lakers have made Lamar Odom no such offer:
Per team source, there was no such conversation between Kupchak and Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, about re-joining the team. The Lakers organization still thinks very fondly of Odom and is genuinely concerned for his well-being. However, the story that a Lakers roster spot would be waiting for Odom should he complete treatment at a rehabilitation center is not true.
Odom was also recently arrested for DUI, according to TMZ, so it’s unclear how possible a potential return is.
Odom spent seven years with the Lakers, winning two championships and the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award (2011). Ironically, it was after he won the sixth man award that he was traded. One can’t help but wonder if he’d still be playing at a high level had none of that Chris Paul mumbo jumbo went down.
David Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent Paul from the then New Orleans Hornets to the Lakers. Both Odom and Pau Gasol were supposed to be a part of the deal that also included the Houston Rockets. Once it fell through, the jilted Odom helped orchestrate his removal from the organization, winding up with the Dallas Mavericks.
In 50 games with the Mavericks, he averaged a then career-worst 6.6 points per contest on a career-low 35.2 percent shooting. Prior to last season he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, the team that drafted him 14 years ago. Familiar spaces did little to help his production as he went on to average a current career-worst 4.0 points on 39.9 percent shooting in 19.7 minutes per game.
His best years were spent in Los Angeles…with the Lakers. If the 33-year-old wishes to resurrect his career, or regain some of his on-court dignity, that’s the team he stands to do it on. But to get (back) there, he must attend rehab.
While I tend to embrace sarcasm and make jokes, this is a man’s life we’re talking about. And we probably don’t know the full story, and the validity of what we do know is questionable. Traffic-hungry outlets have run wild with this and the information out there is murky at best.
But I do know that Odom hasn’t seemed comfortable as a basketball player since leaving the Lakers. And right now, with so much (presumably) going on in his life, I find it difficult to believe he couldn’t use the support of the family the Lakers claim to be.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.