After this report from the L.A. Times surfaced (via My Sports Rumors), I have no choice but to chalk up the rumor we reported yesterday as just that — a rumor. Hey, these things happen sometimes. Even well-connected sources, which this one was, get fed misinformation now and then. Since the scoop apparently came from Lamar Odom’s camp, maybe they were just trying to boost up the Lakers’ offfer. You know what they say, “all is fair in love, war and contract negotiations.” There’s also a Shelden Williams rumor…
It didn’t look great last week for Odom’s return to the Lakers after the franchise yanked its offers of three years and $30 million or four years and $36 million, with the fourth year only partially guaranteed.
But the sides began communicating in a more positive light Wednesday. Financial details were not immediately available, though the Lakers were not expected to have improved their initial offers. If anything, the offers might have dropped slightly.
Odom, who will be 30 in November, was a key part of the Lakers’ championship run, and his teammates, including Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, have unilaterally expressed a desire for his return.
On the other hand, the Lakers are conscious about veering too far into luxury-tax territory. They have already allocated $83.8 million to 12 players next season, which would mean an additional luxury-tax penalty of $13.9 million.
Last season, the Lakers’ payroll was $78.2 million and they paid an additional $7.2 million in luxury taxes.
If the Lakers don’t get Odom, their options are slim other than a trade. They can sign a veteran forward for about $1 million. They also must decide by Aug. 1 whether to bring back seldom-used guard Sun Yue for $736,000 next season. The Lakers have also considered forward Shelden Williams.
I still think L.O. will be a Laker. Unless he wants to take far less money to go to Miami and watch Jermaine O’Neal limp around, Michael Beasley not even attempt to defend and Dwyane Wade eventually bolt (presumably for New York). The Heat are first- or second-round fodder. Don’t get it twisted, L.O. — in Miami a title will be MIA.
And Shelden Williams? Ol’ Klingon forehead himself? Unless we are trying to finagle the rights to his first son with wife Candace Parker, I don’t understand the interest. Williams is yet another Dukie who overachieved in college before underachieving in the pros. He’s Boozer’s younger brother with 1/4 the game. No thanks.
We’ll keep you in the L.O.op.