Lakers to re-sign Lamar Odom

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Lamar Odom to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Odom, who was acquired by the Lakers on July 14, 2004 as part of a trade with the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal, appeared in 78 regular season games with Los Angeles during the 2008-09 campaign, averaging 11.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.26 blocks in 29.7 minutes.

In the 2008-09 postseason, Odom appeared in 23 games (5 starts), averaging 12.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.35 blocks in 32.0 minutes, while posting 14 double-figure scoring games and converting seven double-doubles.

Odom, the fourth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, left the University of Rhode Island after a sophomore season in which he was named AP Honorable Mention All-America and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year.  After tallying 30 points and 12 rebounds in his NBA debut, Odom went on to be selected to the 1999-2000 NBA All-Rookie First team.  In 2005-06, Odom was the only player in the NBA to average better than 14 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, and in ten NBA seasons, has career averages of 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 36.5 minutes in 665 games.

In five seasons with the Lakers, Odom is averaging 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 36.6 minutes.

EARLIER REPORTS FROM PREVIOUS DAY

ESPN (J.A. Adande and Marc Stein) reports: Free agent forward Lamar Odom will return to the Los Angeles Lakers, an NBA source said Thursday. One source with knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com the four-year deal is worth $33 million if the Lakers exercise the final season. One source close to the process said Odom will come away with a guaranteed $27 million from the new contract, matching the original value of the three-year, $27 million deal Lakers owner Jerry Buss pulled off the table earlier this month. It’s believed that the structure of the new deal calls for Odom to earn $25 million over the first three seasons, with the Lakers owing him $2 million in the fourth year if they elect not to pick up their team option.

CBS Sports (Ken Berger) reports: Neither the Lakers nor Odom’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, would comment Thursday on Odom’s decision to spurn a multi-year offer from the Miami Heat and stay with the defending champion Lakers. But a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com that Odom’s teammates have been informed that the 6-10 forward isn’t going anywhere. Initial reports indicate that it’s a three-year deal with a team option that would push the total value north of $30 million. That’s less than the Lakers originally offered, however — a sign of just how much Odom wanted to stay with the Lakers.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I told you yesterday this would probably happen — though it was educated speculation and there was no actual confirmation of anything. As for Odom sticking with the Lakers, as an independent observer I’m a bit disappointed, because I generally like it when a top team loses a key player and that player goes to a squad that needs him even more, simply for the sake of good competition. Odom would have definitely helped the Heat. Anyway, although the Lakers lost Trevor Ariza, the re-signing of Odom and addition of Ron Artest means they’ll continue on as the league’s best team and are the early off-season InsideHoops.com favorite to repeat and win the 2010 championship. Laker fans should be happy. The opposition, not so much.

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