Lamar Odom: the Brett Favre of the Lakers

The fans just want the waiting to end. Soon.

Finally, Brett Favre made up his mind — he is going to stay retired.

Nationally, football fans breathed a big sigh of relief that a decision has been made one way or the other. After a summer of seemingly daily tedious “will he/won’t he” drama updates, the story has at last mercifully come to an end. The Vikings organization can move on, Viking fans can move on. Football fans can watch the ESPN scroll at the bottom of the screen and not see a Favre category pop up.

Now, if Lamar Odom can just do the same. Lakers fans are just begging for an answer.

The situations are totally different. Favre was deciding whether or not to come out of retirement for the 1,453,827th time. Viking fans were split on whether or not having him was in the best interest of the franchise, and if he could make them Super Bowl contenders.

Lamar Odom is looking for one last big contract and is trying to squeeze every dollar out of it by using every bit of his leverage he can find. So he flirts with Miami. Odom will be 30 this season, if he takes the reported Lakers three-year, $25 million offer (with incentives that can make it $27 million) then he will be trying to get another contract at age 33, and likely under a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That deal will not be lucrative, nowhere near the $11 million he made last year, or even as big as this contract.

But Odom’s problem is he is playing a game of negotiation chicken with a world-class poker player who lives for these gambits. Jerry Buss already pulled his first offer off the table (three years, $30 million) because he got tired of waiting. Buss loves these poker mind games, he knows that even his reduced offer is $2.3 million a year more for the first three years to Odom than any other deal, and it’s hard to leave more than $6 million on the table for what could be in a few years.

Odom has a hard decision, so he is being patient. All the while, the Lakers fans are left twisting in the wind — and are starting to wish the saga would just come to an end. Just like Vikings fans were.

With Odom, the Lakers are favorites to repeat as champions, which is why (unlike Favre) fans of the team unanimously want him back. Without him, they are in the mix with a number of other teams (Spurs, Celtics, Cavaliers, Magic) and they need everything to go right. There will be no margin for error (Sasha Vujacic can’t be ice cold through the playoffs, for example).

But the waiting, the daily little drips of information dissected like a Presidential speech, the speculating on what Lamar Odom is thinking — when Odom himself may not have that answer — is draining on fans. It is time for a resolution. An answer.

Are you back in for a title or not, Odom? Come one, even Favre has made up his mind.

Kurt Helin lives in Los Angeles where he is runs the NBA/Lakers blog Forum Blue & Gold (which you can also follow in twitter).

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