Lakers' coach Phil Jackson simply will not give up on the concept of trying out Lamar Odom in the role of sixth man this season. Jackson first vocalized the idea a few weeks ago, and he and Lamar have been going back and forth through the press on the topic ever since. Odom first came back at Phil semi-disrespectfully -- implying that his coach might have lost it if he thinks Lamar should come off the bench -- before taking it down a notch by saying it's not his preference, but he'd do what's best for the team.
Jackson decided to begin the process of turning his whim into a reality during yesterday's practice, when he had Odom spend the majority of it playing with the second unit. Afterwards, the coach spent some time trying to reassure his superstar -- through the media -- that while this was something he thought could help, he's still not sure if he's willing to try it when things count.
"We're having Lamar come in and play off the bench so that he can start thinking about how he can help the team and what he can do when he does that," Coach Phil Jackson said. "But I don't know if I'll experiment with it in a game yet."
Odom is playing out the last year of his contract, which is a likely reason that he's opposed to the idea of switching from starter to sixth man. But again, Phil wanted to calm any fears Lamar might have about a bench role cutting into his minutes.
"If the team's successful out on the floor, you want to keep that group going, so if a guy comes in and plays, you play him until he's tired," [Jackson] said. "We [could] really get a sixth guy who can play 34 minutes with ease."
So Phil is doing everything he can to experiment with Lamar as sixth man, while at the same time being very careful to say the right things to try to get Lamar to buy in. The way Odom has played so far this pre-season though, he doesn't really have a leg to stand on if for some reason he chooses not to.