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:
- Trevor Ariza
- Pau Gasol
- Jordan Farmar
- Derek Fisher
- Luke Walton
- Adam Morrison
- Shannon Brown
- DJ Mbenga
- Josh Powell