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Like the Facebook status of a girl angry at her boyfriend, free agency, it's complicated

July 17, 2009 |  2:38 pm

From ESPN.com's Marc Stein in his report from Vegas yesterday evening:

"Reports persist that (Lamar) Odom has been offered deals spanning three and four seasons in length from the Lakers, but that differs sharply from every bankable indication we've received.

The Lakers' best offer to Odom, so far, tops out at $27 million over three seasons. The expectation among rival teams remains that the sides will eventually come to terms."

This dovetails nicely with what I heard ESPN's Ric Bucher say emphatically on 710 ESPN's Mason and Irleand Show Thursday afternoon that the best deal Odom has seen was 3/$27.  The LA Times and Daily News have reported the Lakers offered Lamar Odom a choice between two deals- one for three years at $30 million, a second for four at $36, but Bucher said if the Lakers went that high, we'd all be on vacation.

With Odom still unsigned and report of an offer from Miami and at least the potential for Portland to make a run now that Utah as matched their offer for Paul Millsap, fair to say the contract details above are a pretty important wrinkle.  At least insofar as figuring out where to direct one's ire as a fan. 

It also illustrates how hard it can be to disseminate information these days, given the number of outlets and platforms available.  Information is spread in so many ways (TV, radio, print, web, Twitter, Facebook, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, telegraph... am I missing any?), and as the infrastructure that surrounds players and teams grow, so to do the number of available sources. 

Personally, I tend to gravitate towards local writers when breaking down local teams (in LA or otherwise), and in no way mean to undermine the great work done by our own beat guys at the LAT or writers from competing papers, most of whom I respect a great deal.  On the other hand, while hardly infallible (Bucher's infamous Kobe declarations a couple summers ago being the most obvious example) the writers at ESPN and other large, national outlets are hard working, well sourced, and equally dedicated to getting their stories right. 

Trying to figure out who has the proper information isn't really my point. I'm not in a position to "call out" any of these guys, since they're all deeper in the situation than I am.  Besides, one of the goofier aspects of this job is how two people can report out identical situations, faithfully and properly using reliable sources, cross-checking them... and still come up with different information.  

In this case, both scenarios are believable.  I can buy the notion that Camp Odom (where the food is delicious and the archery program top notch) is pushing for more money than the market will bear, that the Lakers aren't willing to go past three years whether because of financial considerations or worries about how Odom will age, that LO- as he made fairly clear in his vid AK shot earlier in the week- believes he has a certain value and (despite talk of his willingness to take a pay cut) thinks it should be met, and so on.

If he's only being offered three years by the Lakers, it helps make sense of why questions of a mid-level from Miami seem more important and why they'd be hoping to add Portland to the mix in an effort to add a little leverage to their side.  On the other hand, if he left 4/36 on the table without responding, it explains why Dr. Buss would be so annoyed.  

It may not be until after this is all sorted out (I'd still lay odds on Odom coming back) that we know for sure how all this went down.  Maybe we'll never quite know.  But for anxious fans in need of information and clarity, what they get in today's media market, often filled with too much information, may sometimes be worse.

BK

NOTE (7:46 pm)- One thing worth saying, I should have in the post, is that despite the constant updates, Tweeting, web rumors, conflicting reports, and so on, much can still happen that truly does stay in house.  Radio silence doesn't mean nobody is talking.  It might, but it doesn't have to.  Generally speaking, I'd say the less the public knows until things are ironed out and there's news of true consequence to report (in this case, LO is/is not signing with the Lakers), the more likely it is fans will see a happy outcome. BK


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