After reading and reading all about how Odom and the Lakers are handling each other I got to think: "What happens if Odom doesn't resign with LA?" If LA fails to sign Odom are the Lakers still the team to beat without Odom? I will explore all of this and more coming up.
The Candy Man
Last year Odom was a key part to the Lakers Championship run. When Odom scored more than 15 points in last years playoffs the Lakers were a stellar 7-1. Odom presents the most difficult match up problem for teams outside of Kobe Byrant and the Lakers took full advantage of that in the Houston, Denver and Orlando series.
Now, I know some of you are saying, "The Lakers did just sign Ron Artest, he'll be better than Odom." That may be true, but do you know that for sure? If Odom does sign with another team the Lakers will be asking Artest to fill the shoes of both Odom and Tevor Ariza. Can Artest do that? That's the risk the Lakers will take if they don't resign Odom.
Oh, and there's the risk of this happening.
If Jerry Buss fails to get Odom will he have lost out on the Arms Race of 2009? Yes. There is no doubt. Letting go of Ariza, who wanted and got more than he was worth, wasn't a bad move since he was able to sign Artest. Artest is an upgrade over Ariza in all areas but one. That being the ability of Ariza to guard the likes of Tony Parker. This may seem to be a small price to pay in an upgrade at every other point. Take a moment to notice that the defense of Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Chauncey Billups and others now falls to the weakest spot on the Lakers roster, point guard. Sure you can move Kobe over there to guard these guys and he might do a good job, but then who guards the 2? Artest? Then who guards the 3? This is only part the problem with not getting Odom if you're a Lakers fan.
The Spurs, the Mavs, the Celtics, and the Cavs have all gotten or are going to get much better. Teams like the Nuggets, the Magic and the Blazers all have a year to get better and still might make some moves to improve. If the Lakers fail to sign Lamar Odom they will not be worse than all of these teams. However, I don't believe you can call them the team to beat without the Candy Man. The point guard spot is to weak and the 3 position is not deep enough on the LA roster to put fear into teams they'll be contending with. The bottom line is that LA would go from a team that's hard to match up with to a team that has match up problems with all the quality teams. Buss and his front office will have a hell of a time trying to find a guy to match what Odom brings to the table.
That's right we got this guy.
From a Spurs perspective the signing of Odom is extremely interesting. On one hand, if he re-signs with LA they are a much better team and will be a very worthy foe. On the other, if he signs with a different WC opponet that will make that team better. If he gets picked up by a team in the East, I believe you have to consider the Spurs as the favorites in the West. They are much younger, deeper and hungrier than last year.
The fact remains, if Lamar Odom fails to sign with LA the FO of the Lakers will have made a serious blunder and only strengthened the other title contenders chances. For me, I hope he ends up back in Miami, but fear that he will simply re-sign with the Lakers and make them the Spurs biggest challenge in 2009/2010.
Go here Lamar...they great candy and beaches