With it looking less certain that Lamar Odom will remain with the Lakers, here are five sign-and-trade deals that make sense…
Lamar Odom to Miami for James Jones and Udonis Haslem – The Lakers get a sharpshooter and a big that can give them 20 minutes a night. Of course, Miami is trying to package Haslem for Carlos Boozer, but I’m thinking the Jazz will get a better offer. The other potential snag is that Miami can offer him the same deal we gave Artest, but I think the Candy Man will want more Skittles than that.
Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic to Charlotte for Boris Diaw and DeSagana Diop - Odom is the superior player and Diaw has had some past weight issues, but Diaw is younger and basically the closest thing to Odom that’s available. We eat Diop’s contract, which is better than letting L.O. walk. The Bobcats also get Vujacic, who, if he can relocate his stroke, could really fill a void for the playoff hungry Bobcats. Solid deal for both squads.
Lamar Odom to Dallas for Erick Dampier and a lottery-protected first-round pick – I already hear the grumbles, but this one still makes at least some sense. The Lakers really need a back-up center, especially when you consider Andrew Bynum’s balky knees. Damp might be a role player, but he’s dependable and durable — he played in 80 games last year. Of course, I’m doubting that Jerry Buss could stomach paying him $13 million the season after this one.
Lamar Odom to Cleveland for Zydrunas Ilgauskas – I prefer this option to the Dampier one. I think Dr. Buss could stomach the $11 million for one year, especially since it gives Mitch Kupchak a big expiring contract to make a deal with at the All-Star break. The Cavs are also interested in Odom, or at least the players are. Even if the Lakers kept Big Z for the entire season, he would be a great back-up center and mentor to Diaper Drew.
Lamar Odom to Orlando for Mickael Pietrus and their trade exception filler – This makes a lot of sense to me. Odom would still be close to a beach, and he would also get his dough. He’s also a better, albeit it slightly older, player than Pietrus, whose value to the Magic isn’t what it once was following the Vince Carter trade. Meanwhile, L.O. replaces the versatility the Magic lost when Hedo Turkaglu bolted. Again, we lose a bit on talent here, but it’s better than letting Odom walk. Additionally, I’m 100% certain Ron Artest can play some four. (For more on the Magic’s $6.8 million trade exception, check out Howard the Dunk. Update: the trade exception cannot be combined with a player, but instead only other trade exceptions. Thanks to reader Lil Jackie for the tip.)
It’s more than likely that none of these deals will go down. But if Mitch Kupchak thinks he’s going to lose Odom, it would be wise of him to make a similar list and get on the horn. I have faith he’ll do just that if it becomes apparent that L.O. isn’t coming back.