Odom Wants to Retire with the Lakers
If Lamar Odom has his way, he'll finish his career in purple and gold.
The veteran forward knows the Lakers may not be able to offer market value when his contract expires after the season, but on Monday he said he hopes to sign a long-term deal with LA next summer, perhaps even if it means turning down a more lucrative offer elsewhere.
"If I could finish here, I would," Odom said. "It's funny because "Rich Soil" is one of the names of my companies. LA is definitely rich soil, the Lakers are definitely rich soil, and I'm one of the branches."
Finding money to re-sign Odom could be challenging for the Lakers, who may have to empty their pockets to keep two of their other stars. Kobe Bryant could opt out of his contract at the end of the season and seek more money, while Andrew Bynum will become a restricted free agent unless the Lakers offer him a massive raise this month, expected to be worth at least $80 million over five years.
Odom will make $11.4 million this season, third most on the team behind Bryant and Pau Gasol. Asked if he would accept less to re-sign, Odom paused and then said, "Possibly, but I also have to make a wise business decision."
Odom already has made one concession that other players might not have made in a contract year, saying Sunday that he'll accept coming off the bench after originally bristling at the notion.
"I do love it here," said Odom, who averaged 14.2 points and a career-high 10.6 rebounds last season, helping propel the Lakers to the Western Conference title and a berth in the NBA Finals.
"I'm a loyal guy. People show me love, so I can't help but to show them love. When I go out in LA, I get receptions just from being around so long, going through good times and bad times. I think people respect that."
Maybe if he actually took a lot less money to play for the Lakers he'd receive less criticism.
Edited by KuYa JL, October 14, 2008 - 03:20 PM.