06-30-2009, 01:29 PM
Sons of Antartica
Join Date: Oct 2006
Re: Odom not likely to resign?? - ESPN firsttake
By Elliott TeafordStaff Writer
One by one, they said they hoped to come back to play for another NBA championship next season.
Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown said they were happy and at home with the Lakers and wanted to re-sign with the team.
The Lakers want them back, too. General manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson each said the journey to a second consecutive league title begins by re-signing the three unrestricted free agents.
Kupchak made two moves toward retaining the services of Ariza, Odom and Brown when he traded two of the Lakers' three draft picks for cash and future selections. He didn't want to add players or their salaries to the roster.
The next and most important step begins at 9 p.m. today.
That's when Kupchak can begin negotiations with agents for the players. It's also when general managers for 29 other teams can begin pursuing Ariza, Odom and Brown in hopes ofluring away three valuable members of the Lakers' 2008-09 championship team.
Money, as always, will play an all-important role in where they land.
Kupchak made it clear he doesn't have blank checks to hand out, and issues such as the salary cap and luxury tax could mean he won't be able to afford to re-sign them. He also doesn't know how high other teams might go in order to sign them.
Because they are unrestricted free agents, the Lakers do not have the right to match outside offers for Ariza, Odom and Brown. It means the talks might go quickly, with the players agreeing to new deals within a matter of minutes or hours.
Negotiations between teams and restricted free agents tend to take longer.
Compounding matters is Kobe Bryant's right to terminate his contract by 9 p.m. today and join Ariza, Odom and Brown as a free agent. Bryant indicated he intends to stay put until his contract expires after the 2010-11 season, however.
"I can't speak to `likely' or `most likely' or `likelihood,' but I would say we're hopeful," Kupchak said when asked to characterize the possibility of re-signing all three players and keeping the roster intact for another run at the title next season.
Eight players are under contract for $74 million. If the Lakers re-sign Ariza, Odom and Brown, it could add another $20 million or so to their payroll. If they pick up the team options on three other players, the figure could rise even more.
Last season, the Lakers' opening-night payroll was about $82 million, well above the salary cap ($58.680 million) and the luxury tax ($71.150 million). Kupchak expects the salary cap to decline for the first time in history and the luxury tax to drop with it.
more here, good read