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Lamar Odom: Exit Interview

For better or worse, I've been on the Lamar Odom bandwagon for a while, firm in the belief that what he does for the Lakers in on-court role and productivity and locker room ballast to Kobe Bryant far outweighs that which he doesn't in terms of consistency or scoring.  This year, I think more people developed an appreciation for Odom's contributions to LA's success.  His versatility on both ends is a major reason the Lakers are able to play in so many styles with a variety of lineups. 

The long and short of it: When Odom was on the floor this year, good things tended to happen.

Throughout the season, Odom openly spoke about his desire to stay in LA, and while his exit interview was filled with boilerplate free-agent-to-be talk of the business of basketball, he also noted the importance of winning and his willingness to keep coming off the bench. I think the Lakers will have an easier time signing Odom than Trevor Ariza, because of changes in the market.  Odom will undoubtedly make less than the $11.4 million he earned this year no matter where he lands, and with the possible exception of Detroit the teams with cap space seem unlikely to use it on Odom, who is less a guy who can make a bad team good and more one that can help a good team be great.  Ariza, younger and likely cheaper, is an easier play in an environment where the cap is heading down.

Still, to remain a Laker there's a good chance Odom will have to pass up more money from another team.  Assuming it's not the proverbial offer he can't refuse, I think he'd choose LA.  Here, Odom talks about the emotion of winning a title, and the reception fans have given since the clincher:

In this clip (from the start of his interview), Odom jokes about the contract negotiation process, looks back at his year and towards the next. "The best thing about winning a championship is when you're on a team where you feel like you can win another one."

It wouldn't be an Odom interview without a few choice lines, and here Odom delivers possibly the best of Exit Interview Season. Asked what management wants him to do this summer to help his game, Odom said it was mostly centered on fitness. "They know I'm a socialite," he smiled. "We won a championship. I'm in my prime, 29. I'm decent looking... and when we go out, I'm well received."

Jokes aside, hopefully Odom, who hasn't necessarily taken off-season training as seriously as he could over his career (not his best attribute), takes this to heart. Not everyone can be Kobe, but as Odom might say, there's a middle ground, right?

Odom reflects on what his role might be next season, including some additional time at both the point and small forward. He also talks about being an "x-factor."

Finally, Odom talks about how perceptions of him have evolved over his time in Los Angeles, where he's always been a guy solidly on the trade block and now seems much less expendable to most fans. And more about the business of free agency.

Previous Exit Interviews:


Comments () | Archives (37)

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great sense of comic timing...he looks absolutely wrecked though aye?

I only hope he doesn't get delusions of grandeur and chase some unfulfilled dreams to be an all star or something...he can be himself on this team.It would be bad for the lakers if he left and bad for him to be back in a position making too much money and expected to be the first or second option on a lousy team.

It would be sad to see him go and it would be sad to see him busting away getting criticised on some irrelevent team.

No team with the talent to be good will be able or willing to offer significantly more money so if he leaves it might be somewhere awful.

fingers crossed

"We would like to see much more balance to this group!, Not a one man show with a bunch of support players"
Kobe's alright, but the beauty of a true balanced TEAM is what this game is all about.
Phil Jackson needs to be st straight
Red Aurbach would never have played this cheap and sold out style of play. His teams were always great TEAMS"

Don't know about any of you, would like to discuss the topic of the upcoming draft..What are the Lakers going to do with their 29th pick -- trade it or what??

If not,who is on their radar, free agents, that can be had for nothing, Jamal Tinsley anyone?? I know he's been off the court for a while but Indy is gonna have to make a decision on him and he is a def playmaker, or rather,was..I am just curious about Laker stuff all the time, everyday,all day..

Anyone else have any thoughts, ideas, or insight?????

when coach allows kobe to go out there and just keep shooting the ball without any thought to passing and being a supportive team mate, for example going out and scoring 80+ points against a depleted and injured Toronto Raptor team is nothing short of disgraceful
We do not approve of that kind of low quality, low IQ game initiated and carried out by Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant.
This type of game plan needs to stop
Bring back the Team game.


In the last thread, you responded to my post to LakerTom.
You wrote: You're missing the point. The financial benefit for Kobe from a reduced salary would come from additional titles he gets because the Lakers sign Odom and Ariza. Not from sponsors who sign him this summer.

My response: No I'm not. In order to agree or disagree with
LakerTom, I'm asking him for information. Specifically,
What market is opened up by Kobe winning another 2
championships that is not opened right now?

:LakerTom seems to believe [ correct me if I'm wrong ]
that winning multiple championships over the next
few years would make Kobe more marketable than
if he doesn't win those championships. From that
viewpoint, he has made the argument that signing for
less $$ right now will lead to multiple championships and
the $$ lost from the Lakers can be re-couped via
marketing deals.

Rather than saying: "You're wrong." I'm asking him to
name some sponsors who wouldn't touch Kobe with
4 rings, but would touch him with 6 rings.

I believe that *RIGHT NOW* Kobe is at his most marketable.
He won the MVP last year. He won the Olympics last
year & clearly showed his global appeal. His jersy is
#1 this year, clearly showing his global appeal. He
won the championship & the Finals MVP this year. He
will be on a contender next year, and one has to
believe a strong favorite to repeat. I do not see a
business reason to *NOT* sign a marketing deal with
him this year, but sign one with him next year. i.e.
You're 4 championship rings, Olympic gold medal,
2 scoring titles, MVP & Finals MVP are good, but
not quite good enough. Come back to us when you've
got 5 championship rings, 3 scoring titles and a second
Finals MVP. Then we'll sign you to a plump
marketing deal.

This argument is *MUCH* stronger if you substitute
Lamar for Kobe. i.e. If Lamar takes less and remains
a Laker he's *MUCH* more marketable than if he leaves.

Furthermore, he hasn't factually addresed the numbers.
Should Kobe take less $$ when the Lakers haven't
used the Full MLE. To quote Kevin Ding:

Aside from the fact no one does more for Buss' revenue streams than Bryant, let's be clear: Buss can pay Ariza and Odom as much as he wants to bring them back. Whatever it takes, Buss is allowed to do.

There are really no limitations on the dollars. Buss could even sign an altogether new, excellent player if he were willing to spend the mid-level salary-cap exemption this summer.

It's not as if Bryant taking less would move the Lakers under the cap and be the only way to afford returning or incoming talent. Whatever Bryant did cut from his salary would go directly and only into Buss' pocket.

My final thought on this: I would specifically like you or
LakerTom or someone else to address: If Kobe takes
less, so that Lamar & Ariza can get fat contracts ...
Does Dr. Buss lose the same amount of $$ as Kobe,
should he not get those marketing deals?
Who are the sponsors who won't use Kobe with 4
rings, but will use him with 5?

Seems like the multiposer, I mean multiposter has blown a gasket.

"Laker Fan/Buttler/Red/" whoever

Aurbach won most of his titles when there were 8 or 9 teams in the league and the players had to have jobs in the off-season. Kinda like AA baseball today. Teams came and went. They didn't have to run through 22-29 teams. Just like the Lakers first 6 titles. The real NBA started in '76 with the merger of the NBA & the ABA. Since the merger, the seltix have won 4 titles, the Spurs have won 4 titles, the Bulls won 6 and the Lakers have won 9 titles.

So the seltix are about the 4th best franchise.

And teams win championships, not individuals.

LA Lakers, 2009 NBA Champions

who the EFF is tawkin about an 80 pt game some 3, 4 years later?? Wow..

Besides, those points were scored in the flow of the offense on a team that couldn't hit a friggen shot if their lives depended on it..Kobe was the reason, ONLY reason the Lakers won that game!

All we have been talking about is kobe taking less,lamar taking less,jerry getting into luxury tax,phil getting a pay cut,lamar 8 mil and ariza 5 mil,etc.....

Fact is odom said he wants to be a laker so did ariza. So will they sacrifice a couple of million to stay on a championship team or pull a turiaf and go elsewhere and go on vacation extra early?

Answer,they have both been on teams that haven't been able to reach their acme. Trevor first two years with the lakers have taken him to the finals twice. That's 2 out of 2,I think he will pass on 10 million contract with the raptors (even though playing with bosh is exciting) for a 7-8 million for the lakers because he wants to win,same for lamar.

These are my assumptions,igrowing up in l.a like ariza,I wouldn't leave the lakers for nothing even after a championship team. Trevor is staying. Focus on other players now....

Bring back the Team game.

Posted by: TEAM MATE #1 | June 22, 2009 at 09:20 AM

I'm back, and I decided to embody myself in the current Lakers. I have made Kobe Bryant my lead representative.

who the EFF is tawkin about an 80 pt game some 3, 4 years later?? Wow..Besides, those points were scored in the flow of the offense on a team that couldn't hit a friggen shot if their lives depended on it..Kobe was the reason, ONLY reason the Lakers won that game! Posted by: lakersrydeordie | June 22, 2009 at 09:39 AM

Keep them real lakersrydeordie, KEEP THEM REAL!!!

Ask yourself how much less you would take to continue working at your current job when some other company providing the same benefits package is willing to pay you much more.

I'm not Odom's biggest fan but I would like to see him stay. However, I don't expect it. These players have a financial responsibility to themselves and their families that can't be ignored. I don't expect a team of altruistic crusaders for titles, monetary considerations are still of prime importance and understandably so.


LakerTom & Others,

You say Kobe will take a paycut because he will make it up in endoresements. Of course, he CAN make it up, but why should he? He will get the same endoresements, even if he does or doesn't take the max! Why? Because,he's not going anywhere else regardless!

Also, come on people! You think it's the same thing for us to go ask our boss for a pay cut? 6 figures compared to 25 million? It doesn't even compare!

I believe Kobe is worth the max right now..But is he worth the max when he is 35 years old? Probably not! And that is why I would argue a small pay cut because he's getting more years! So technically, he is not getting a pay cut at all! He is getting more money until he is 35.

At 35, he is going to be a different player then he is now. He already can barely get up for dunks sometimes. 27 Million+ when he is 35? I'm not so sure that is a wise investment. I understand Kobe is a freak in keeping himself in top condition, but guards rarely dominate at 35. Just something to think about!


$13K Kobe Bobblehead Doll.


Kobe Bryant has been illiminated from any discussion on the subject of TEAM!!!
It's "Aaaaalllll about Kobe


Get it right

No One respects P.Jacksons approach

Primadonna stroker and official hand holder

Aurbach Owns jackson!

My take on Kobe status – he only needs to opt out in order to sign new 5-6 years contract because long term bringing more security, basically if he thinks he can earn more with new contract. Obviously, when I said earning more, I mean overall, not this year, usually those contracts structured with the 1st year lowest salary and the last one is the highest one. Another thing to consider, the upcoming negotiations about CBA between owners and players union. From what I was reading union will be forced to make some concessions, as you probably aware, more than half teams in NBA indeed loosing money, and don’t forget, not because of current economy. So maybe Kobe will be better off to opt out and sign a new deal while he can, still under current CBA, in order to secure desirable length of the contract, annual raises and etc.


I absolutely agree with you on your take, it’s very hard to imagine company not willing to sign Kobe with 4 vs. with 6 titles (potentially) However, you’ll agree, with current economic conditions, they’re some companies who would love to sign Kobe now, they just can not afford him, as you know money indeed pretty tight now, especially for marketing.

About keeping Ariza and Odom.. Dr. Buss indeed going to be basically paying double to keep both because team payroll as of now looking around 74 for next season… And according to different sources cap is going around 70 or even less next season. So it’s easy to see why Lakers ownership concern about it. Let say, just a hypothetical figure, Lakers signed boss Ariza and Odom for combined 15M per year, just a mere ballpark number for illustration purposes only. If you count additional penalty which in this case another 15M we’re easily talking about team caring payroll of more than $100 per season. Don’t forget, even after signing both players, we’re still 2 people short from NBA mandated minimum, I believe 12 players roster… And if you stop and think for a minute, $100M payroll it’s a lot of money to think about even for such a profitable franchise as a Lakers. Yes, additional championships will bring additional revenue from different sources, like tickets sales, TV deals from playoff home games, merchandise sales and etc. Will it help to offset cost? Definitely… How much? Remains to be seen… So Lakers brass has a lot to think about…

Based on everything above, I think Lakers need to come up with some trades in order to clear some money for Ariza or Odom or both. For example, a lot of team will be looking for cap relieve next year with the crop of free agents like Wade, Bosh hits the market. So Lakers have one expiring next year contract, Adam Morrison, with the salary more than 5M per year. Again remember, Lakers will pay dollar for every dollar over the cap, so in reality Morrison will cost Lakers potentially 10M per year and very remote possibility to break a rotation besides garbage time. Again, nothing personal just a business, he seems like a nice guy. Another possibility, my personal preference, Lakers need to come up with the scenario to trade Sasha, and maybe get some one who can get Kobe some relive minutes, 10-15 per game and actually make points on the much higher rate than collecting fouls. We got to face the truth – Machine is broken long time ago, with few memorable exceptions, almost entire season and definitely entire playoffs. From 6th man Sasha morphed into someone who played from 2-6 minutes and gave Lakers nothing except manufacturing fouls with an alarming rate.

I think Lakers need to do as much as possible to get rid of all the picks this year either packaging them via the trades discussed above or any other way. For 2 candidates for remaining 2 roster spots in this case I would go with Brown and Powell, as a people who already have some knowledge of the system, assuming Phil coming back and Lakers still running triangle. In fact, I would definitely sign Shannon Brown for any reasonable contract, unless some other team will put ridiculous offer on the table. Will Farmar ever arrive as a “point guard of the future” still a big question, and little competition from Shannon, not to mention contract year will show Lakers if he is ready to take starter position from Fish.

Sorry for this long post, I think some thoughts for discussion on this blog.

Kobe, Dr. Buss, Trevor, Lamar, and Shannon all need to sit down in a room with a bottle of scotch and say to one another, "How are we going to work this out?"

No lawyers.

No weasel agents.

No family members.

Just five Lakers dedicated to winning.

There is a solution to this as long as everyone is committed to winning. Winning comes first and that includes putting together a "win-win" solution to building a Dynasty around these players.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Laker Fan/Buttler/Red/Whoever,

Dude, you are a coward.

How dare you continue to post here? We made a gentleman's agreement which I had every intention upon fulfilling if I would have lost.

But I/we didn't. We won the bet. And YOU lost.

Yet you are too much of a prideful coward to fulfill your element of the bargain. Instead AS A COWARD AND A FOOL you change your name and continue to try to harass this blog and the CHAMPION Los Angeles Lakers.

You keep spouting drivel about Kobe not being a team player. Are you fricken nuts? Did you watch the playoffs and the Finals (which we won, I might add)?

You lost the bet and you are not man enough to MAN UP to your responsibility.

That makes you a child and a coward.

As you read this, know that I know and WE KNOW that you are nothing but a coward and a liar. FEEL THAT. KNOW THAT YOU ARE A COWARD.

And I hope you FEEL THAT throughout every step of your day.

What you do stays with you.


What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


If anything Kobe and Dr. Buss need to sit down and talk about things...

Both of them know basketball and the business of basketball like few people.

The fate of the destiny of the Lakers are in these two mens hands.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


If Lamar was really such a great glue guy...

1. Why did the team implode in 04-05.
2. Why did the Lakers do nothing in the playoffs 05-06, and 06-07 if Odom was such a great glue guy?
3. Why did Fisher's return make the biggest difference of any single acquisition? Wouldn't that make Fisher the great glue guy? The guy that gave Kobe credibility so people would work harder and believe they could win a 'ship?

I think Lamar being a great glue guy is partly offset by him being a bad influence. Do you think a guy unwilling to develop his non-dominant hand, that spent an entire offseason (between 07-08 and 08-09) on vacation, that has shown signs he likes the NBA lifestyle more than he wants a 'ship might have had some influence on the Brian Cooks, Smush Parkers, Andrew Bynums and Kwame Browns that have been on the team?

I'm biased, but I think these are overlooked points when everyone wants to sing Odom's praises.

And I really do like the guy. He won us games in Cleveland and Boston. He played great in the Finals, and he really stepped up this year when Bynum went down.

I really want to resign him.

But, let's be realistic.

Using the family considerations argument is pretty silly when you are taling about someone making as much money as these players do, and when you look at how most pro athletes spend their money.

It also ignores the disruption to the family if they have to relocate.

So let's be realistic about the motivation - it's ego and lifestyle, not family, that will be the driving factors if they leave.

I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyways.

And now I feel dirty for it.

I read T.J. Simers most recent article.

Just weird. He has something seriously wrong with him. I'm not joking around here. The guy has something seriously wrong with him. He's not healthy.

I'm going to do a Bio-Chrono reading on T.J. Simers to find out what the heck is his problem and why he has such a schewed, negative worldview.

Something is deeply missing in his life and he is trying to fill that hole by angering/hurting other people. It's a sickness.

If I was T.J. Simers boss, I'd try to be compassionate. I'd tell him to take some time off, get some help, maybe spend a little time alone in nature or something. I assume that he must have some talent as a writer (though I don't see it), but he is wasting whatever talent he has through ignoring his mental sickness.

It's just sad and it is disappointing that the L.A. Times allows this person who needs help to continue his dysfunction so vocally.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


I'm not able to find enough information about T.J. Simers on the web to do a Bio-Chrono reading, but I see that he's from the Midwest and went to Northern Illinois University.


As a transplant with an ego, he clearly has an inferiority complex. I see that crap all the time out here in Cleveland. Deep down he doesn't feel "good enough" so he overcompensates by demeaning other people/groups so that he can feel on a more even level with them.

He tries to take the shine off of other things because he feels that he doesn't shine himself. I also suspect that his emotional process is the kind that needs to feel appreciated to feel at peace. People who are focused on that process will substitute being acknowledged/noticed for being "appreciated" when they can't get enough positive acclaim. They just need attention.

What it really comes down to is that he didn't feel special growing up and his mother probably didn't give him enough attention as a child, so now as a grown up emotional child, he engages in behavior (including bad behavior) just to overcompensate for the hole he feels inside because "mommy didn't love him enough" and he feels inferior in the land of beautiful people and stars.

So that's why he spouts the drivel he does.

He just wants attention because deep down inside he feels really sad about himself.

It's not really T.J. Simers fault, but it is the fault of the L.A. Times that they allow him to continue his dysfunction as they do. If the L.A. Times didn't give him the voice they do, T.J. Simers would probably have to find healthier ways to compensate for his internal dysfunction.

The L.A. Times is basically enabling an addict. It's not good.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Good morning (almost good afternoon) CRUE!!!

Wow - finally got caught up reading everything from over the week-end. LOTS of good stuff - kudos to the K-Bros for bringing the best of the Lakers coverage to us.

Couple of things:

1. WHY are we debating Kobe's future salary? Dude deserves EVERY PENNY he earns. Whether he opts for less or demands more, I for one really can't fault him. Without him, the parades don't happen, and isn't that what we all want? I want him to make top dollar. I want him to take less so we can resign others. Can't have it both ways, but I'm ok with whatever happens to his paycheck.

2. Did anyone see Jimmy Kimmel? When asked why LO didn't come, and Kimmel says something about is he starting his free agency early, Kobe EMPHATICALLY responds that LO IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE. He repeated that. I believe him.

3. Trevor is also not going anywhere. Kobe knows this group is the dynasty. He will do whatever he can do - either via money or opinion to the powers that be - to keep it intact.

4. I'm still basking!!!!!!! My 2009 Championship Lakers will do that to me LOL!


It's important for us to retain Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom. Let's just leave it at that. They're BOTH important for our future.

Over the next three years the way the Lakers play is going to shift. Kobe will take a diminished role as he ages. Andrew Bynum will take on an ascendant role as he improves.

Thus, our game is going to turn into more of an inside game and players like Bynum, Gasol, and Odom will be more important over the next four years.

THAT and defense (Ariza) will be the key to future Championships.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.



"WHY are we debating Kobe's future salary? Dude deserves EVERY PENNY he earns."

True, but if Kobe is gracious enough to take a paycut, he has the power to ensure that the Lakers form another Dynasty.

It's a big responsibility and a lot of power.

Does Kobe deserve more money? Absolutely.

Are the forces that be conspiring to limit the Lakers future potential as Dynastic Champions? Yes, unless Kobe agrees to take a paycut.

The guy is clearly a Top Five player All-Time, but he's getting older and his athleticism will decline. If he continues to make more money each year while his ability to contribute declines slightly each year, well, it's just going to hurt the Lakers ability to maintain a Championship franchise.

That's the simple truth.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


A further note about T.J. Simers...

IF T.J. Simers is orientated towards the emotional process he appears to be orientated towards, then he's caught in a dangerous cycle.

If he is substituting attention for feeling appreciated, well, though he pretends otherwise, all the negative attention hurts him deep down inside. He would rather feel positive appreciation than negative attention.

He becomes like a stripper who likes the attention, but deep down inside feels her soul rotting and cries herself to sleep.

As she becomes more desperately in need of help, she reactively seeks out more attention is a dysfunctional way and engages in behavior that is self-destructive.

THAT'S what's going on with T.J. Simers.

Everytime the readership responds angrily to his articles (which are written to inspire anger), he receives a quick whiff of delight folllowed by slow, deepening sadness.

The fact that the L.A. Times is allowing this to continue is spiritually criminal. They're enabling a person who needs serious help.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Jon K,

When you referring to "Laker Fan" do you mean "LAL_Fan"? If your answer is "Yes", let me make a perfectly clear for you about several things:

I never posted under any other nick, already for almost 3 years, it always was and going to be for a foreseeable future the one I’ve chosen from the beginning - LAL_Fan. You can agree or disagree with me, last time I checked, it’s perfectly normal in this country, and on this blog,.

One more time, in case you did not get it, I NEVER CHANGED MY NICK, I consider myself Lakers Fan, even if on some of the subjects I do not share your opinion, last time I checked you’re not the one who is holding one always correct opinion/observation regarding our team, people around the and etc.

I never negotiated any kind of agreement with you, or for this matter anyone on this blog, so stop calling me coward, because this is you who indeed looking like a FOOL now.




Jon was not responding to you. He was responding to this post, which might have been another anonymous post by Buttlicker:

>>> Kobe's alright, but the beauty of a true balanced TEAM is what this
>>> game is all about.
>>> Phil Jackson needs to be st straight
>>> Red Aurbach would never have played this cheap and sold out style of play.
>>> His teams were always great TEAMS"
>>> Posted by: Laker Fan | June 22, 2009 at 09:12 AM


Everyone is enamored with bringing Lamar and Trevor back, but there are better options out there, and being champions, this could serve the Lakers well. Why not bring Lamar back at less money, and go after one of the league's best defensive stoppers/scorers in Ron Artest. You could probably get Ron Ron for the mid-level, which is about what you would offer Trevor. Ron Artest would lock up the Lebron James' and Carmelo Anthony's. He would fit in great on a team with Kobe, loves to compete and is the right age to finish his career in Lakerland. I love Trevor Ariza, but the chance at Ron Ron for the MLE is too good to pass up...


Yeah, what Laker Tom said.

I'm referring to Butler who frequently posts under a variety of names.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.



The Lakers are over the cap and cannot sign any player from another team for more than the Mid Level Exception, which is around $5.5M. Because the Lakers own the Larry Bird rights to Lamar and Trevor as their own free agents, they are allowed to sign them for any amount. Lamar will definitely demand more than the MLE (Maybe 8M to $10M) and Trevor possibly more ($5M to $7M). The only good thing is that just like we cannot sign other high priced free agents, neither can the other teams who over the cap (almost everybody) sign Lamar or Trevor for more than the $5,5M of the MLE. Bottom line, we need to keep this team together. I also do not think there are two better prospects out there for the money we will have to spend on Lamar and Trevor. The only killer is whatever salary we pay them, we will also have to pay the NBA the same amount in luxury tax. Hope that makes all of this clearer to you. And welcome to the blog.


Tom, what would be the difference (in terms of money) if we could sign Ron Artest on a mullti-year mid-level starting at 5.5 million, and letting go the 5-7 million we would spend on Ariza. Lamar is Lamar, 8-10 mill is about right, but if the money is the same, I would see if Artest is available at the mid-level for a multi-year deal. If reports are true that Artest won't get more than the mid-level, then the Lakers should go after it. We have to continue to improve, while this roster is a great, other teams are getting better and the Lakers have to do the same. Artest is an upgrade over Ariza, as much as I like Ariza. He is one of the best defenders in the league, plays hard all the time, can shoot from distance and can post up.

I lived in LA for many years when Odom was with the Clippers. Quite frankly, I considered him to be an exceptional physical talent, but whose mind was not always in the game. He has to my surprise matured over time, and I like what I see. I think that he is a keeper.


I am not for signing Artest. We saw his weaknesses up close in the Rockets series. Out of control on offense. Prone to losing his cool. Artest plays great defense but would ruin our offense. Lamar and Trevor are much better fits for this team. Artest also refused to sign for the MLE last year so I doubt he would be interested this year. As for your question, as long as Artest was willing to sign for the MLE, he and Ariza would be interchangeable from a salary cap situation with one exception. We would retain Bird rights to pay Ariza more than the MLE, which it may take, whereas we have no Bird rights with Artest and would not since he has not stayed with one club for 3 consecutive years.


What's unrealistic is to pretend that there is a primary motivating factor besides money in these player's career decisions. Sure, they want to win championships but that's an outcome that can never be assured and even if it could, exactly how much money is a championship worth. Depends on the player I'm sure but this is the difference between guaranteed money and a performance bonus.

The fact that these players make millions makes the monetary decisions more important, not less. The difference between salary offers is literally millions of dollars and no one turns their nose up at that no matter how much money you already have. This is capitalism and that's reality.

I think LO returns & I'm not relying on fuzzy reasons like "He loves the Lakers!" I honestly don't think any other team will offer a better deal than the Lakers do. I think LO will always be somewhat inconsistent & if other teams are smart, they'll recognize that LO can be a great X-Factor, but that's only of use if you already have your A & B-factors. I can't see another team spending precious salary on LO with all the other choices coming in the next 2 years.

Teams will be more interested in the younger, still-developing Ariza & that's whom the Lakers need to focus on retaining first.



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