This post is to hopefully consolidate discussion (pro or con) about making a play for unrestricted free agent Lamar Odom. I've made several comments the last few days in favor of going after Odom so I'll summarize those comments here.
This is our last chance for probably a decade to make a substantial move to upgrade the team without giving up a key player in return. After the Feb trading deadline we won’t have cap space again for many, many years. If it should ultimately turn out that we only acquired a good future tradable asset, at least we will have that option in the bank to use down the road somewhere. This is truly a case of use it, or lose it.
I believe we should go for a free agent right now. If KP knew there was a great lopsided trade available using our cap space this summer he wouldn’t have pursued Turk, so I doubt there’s much opportunity for that to happen. The chance of finding a great lopsided trade during the season before the Feb trading deadline (if we do nothing this summer) is even less likely. After that the cap space is gone.
It seems odd to some people that KP wanted Turk, a small forward (who importantly could also play backup PF). I suspect KP already has a deal for Travis Outlaw lined up (or at the very least has finally given up on him) but needs to use the cap space first. If we had acquired Turk, Outlaw obviously had to go, so KP has already moved past that decision. After 6 years we have seen everything that Travis has and it obviously isn’t enough to be a starter. I also don’t like Travis as a backup for a championship contender (poor defense, poor rebounding for his size, poor passer that often ignores an open 3-pt shooter, better as an undersized, non-banging PF than as SF – which is not what we need).
Batum will hopefully be very good in a couple of years, but he needs to be a backup now as he develops. We must also discount Martell entirely until it is proven that he can come back sometime next year (he still hasn’t been cleared to run and jump on his foot – which is a very bad sign).
So we need a starting SF that can score, pass, play defense, rebound, and provide a bit of toughness.
Lamar Odom can do all of that if Nate can keep him motivated, and like Turk he can fill the backup PF spot behind LMA (probably even better than Turk).
It would be difficult to pry him away from LA, but we might be able to offer more money than LA is willing to offer. Odom made $14.1M last year according to StoryTeller's website. About $2.5M was from bonuses and a trade kicker, so his actual yearly salary was about $11.6M. LA has Bird Rights, so even though they are over the cap they can still offer more than the $10M per year we can offer. But apparently they have only offered about $8M over 3-years. So if we offer $10M over 5-years and LA chooses not to match Odom would be looking at a reduction from $14.1M to either $8M (Lakers) or $10M (Portland). Plus he gets 5-years guaranteed with us instead of only 3 years. In that case Odom might take our offer. LA would probably match but it’s worth a try.
We don't have to be used or tied up for a week trying to make this deal. I’d give him a 24 hour take it or leave it offer and see what happens. Who knows, maybe he doesn’t like the idea of Artest coming to town or he’s tired of coming off the bench.
Odom would be a big upgrade over Outlaw, and fill the backup PF spot we also need. He would also give us some toughness that Turk wouldn't have. This would be a substantial upgrade for the Blazers and significantly hurt LA.
Make the 24-hour offer KP.