Lakers Pull Offer to Lamar Odom

The Lakers next offer to Odom will be smaller.

If you ever end up at a poker table with Lakers owner Jerry Buss, know that he will call your bluff.

Lamar Odom has found that out.

After a week of waiting to hear from Odom and his agent on a pair of offers, Buss grew frustrated and yesterday pulled those offers off the table. According to the LA Times, those offers were four years at $9 million a year ($36 million) or three years at $10 million a year ($30 million)

The next offer from the Lakers will be smaller — Buss does not play around when offended. And that could lead to bad blood as Odom keeps pushing for $10 million a year for five years.

All of this does not mean negotiations are over — ultimately Odom and the Lakers are going to have to come together on whatever deal.

The Lakers are the only team that can offer Odom more than $7.7 million a year (and the only other team that can really offer more than $5.8 million is Portland, which has been lukewarm on Odom). Odom has tried to use Dallas and Miami as leverage, both of whom can offer five years but only at the mid-level exception to the salary cap, or $5.8 million, which works out to $34 million over the life of the deal. Odom has already ignored more money than that from the Lakers, so you know he doesn’t want to take the MLE.

If Odom wants to get paid, he’s going to have to get it from the Lakers. Either he takes the smaller offer that comes next from Buss, or his agent and he work out a sign-and-trade deal with Miami (Dallas would like to do a sign and trade too, but there is no way the Lakers willingly send Odom to another contender). And that sign-and-trade offer had better be quality — the Lakers are under no obligation to okay the deal. Miami is going to have to give up something good — likely starting with Michael Beasley and adding to that package — to get this done.

Of course, the Lakers would not be the same without Odom — he led the team in +/- last season. That means simply when Odom was on the court the Lakers outscored their opponents by an average of 16.4 points per game (per 48 minutes, to be technical). That is a better rate than Kobe (+12.1) or any other Laker. And Odom was key when Bynum was injured and during the playoffs.

The Lakers without Odom are still title contenders, but the margin for error is very small. Everything needs to go right.

In the end, it makes the most sense for the Lakers and Odom to just reach a deal. But when emotions and money are involved, things are never quite that simple. And Buss is more than willing to call your bluff in this high stakes game.

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