Lakers and Clips Would Consider Lamar
By Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein | ESPN.com
The Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers continue to monitor Lamar Odom's progress as closely as they can, and would consider signing the enigmatic free-agent forward should Odom prove that his personal and legal issues are behind him, according to sources with knowledge of both teams' thinking.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Clippers and Lakers, with both teams having registered interest in signing Odom this past summer until his private life became a near-daily subject for the tabloid media, will have renewed interest in the 33-year-old if he indeed makes a comeback this season.
Odom recently has begun training again with an eye toward making a return to the floor during the second half of the season, sources have said.
Sources stressed, though, that neither the Clippers nor the Lakers have had recent contact with Odom beyond calls inquiring about his personal welfare.
Odom has a positive history with both the Clippers and Lakers that sources say keeps the door open for a return as long as he can convince those teams he can get back into basketball shape and is committed to resurrecting his NBA career after a worrying string of offseason headlines that included allegations of drug use and an August arrest on a DUI charge.
Of course, because of the nature of Odom's recent issues, sources say both teams would proceed "carefully" in evaluating the former NBA Sixth Man Award winner, who made it clear during a difficult season with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011-12 that he feels most comfortable playing in L.A.
The Clippers currently have 14 players on their roster. They are considering several options for that 15th roster spot, sources say, which is among the reasons -- along with luxury-tax concerns -- that they kept the spot open coming out of training camp.
The Lakers, meanwhile, would seem to have the most need and flexibility to sign Odom despite currently carrying the league maximum of 15 players. Their roster is filled with players on one-year deals in a bid to maintain maximum flexibility for a major retooling in the summer of 2014. Elias Harris, Xavier Henry, Ryan Kelly and Shawne Williams were signed by the Lakers to either partially guaranteed or fully unguaranteed minimum contracts.