Lamar Odom meet with Clippers coach Doc Rivers for almost two hours on Friday, according to ESPN.com, prompting speculation that he will make his return to the NBA with his old team and sign a deal soon. Odom was a member of the Clippers from 1999 to 2003, and most recently, during the 2012 to 2013 season, playing in all 82 games for them.
While Odom, 33, left the meeting without having signed a deal with them, players on the Clippers have stated that they believe he will sign and will be back on the team soon.
On Friday night, a source said that a deal with the LA Clippers might not be exactly “imminent,” but added that he “would be surprised if it doesn’t happen.”
According to team representatives for the Clippers, Odom looked as if he was “in good shape.” Though they have been relying on Ryan Hollins and Byron Mullens to play the part of the “big man” on their team, these two have played only in reserve roles so far. Odom would give the Clippers the big-man sort of depth that they lack.
The Lakers are interested in luring Lamar Odom back to their team for the same reason,as well as to improve their bench, but they want to make sure that Odom is staying away from the drugs he’s been rumored to have indulged in during the off-season.
After Odom’s arrest for a DUI earlier this past year, he checked himself into a rehab facility for a brief stint of less than a day. He then allegedly moved out of the house he shared with his wife, Khloe Kardashian, and moved into another residence where he shacked up with two women and smoked crack.
Odom still possesses a lot of talent, however, and he could be a key player for either the Clippers or the Lakers.Both teams have expressed strong interest in having Odom sign with them, but they want to make sure that he’s healthy and can contribute to their teams before having him ink a deal.
While Lamar Odom didn’t particularly shine during the 2012-13 season, averaging just four points per game and 5.0 rebounds, and he was below his average in making free throws, having Odom return to the Clippers would still be an upgrade for them.
One good sign that Lamar Odom is ready to get serious about returning to the NBA and contributing to the Clippers or the Lakers is that sources have said he’s been busy working out this past month, and he could be ready to return and play basketball in time for the second half of the season.
The Clippers have 14 players on their roster currently, with plans to add a 15th. If they become convinced that Lamar Odom is dedicated to turning his life around and is serious about wanting to resurrect his NBA career, the LA Clippers will likely sign Odom as the 15th player on their roster.
Written by: Douglas Cobb