Stein: Knicks "near deal" with Lamar Odom

It does indeed sound like the Knicks will use their 15th spot to bring in Lamar Odom, essentially as a loophole offseason acquisition. From Marc Stein:

Sources told ESPN.com that the Knicks are on course, barring an unforeseen snag, to formally sign Odom this week in a move that would put him on their roster immediately and, more importantly, include an unguaranteed second year for next season.

Structuring the deal this way, after a tumultuous 12 months for one of Jackson's favorite players when they worked together with the Los Angeles Lakers, would give the Knicks two months before free agency begins July 1 to get the 34-year-old into their program and start working with him.

The Knicks, sources say, would want to use the extra time to see if they can get Odom to the point, physically and mentally, where the talented but enigmatic lefty is worthy of a roster spot next season.

If he signs, Odom obviously won't play this season. His back is hurt and his new team has nothing to play for. (Although sending Odom out there for the final game against the Raptors and giving him 48 minutes to ball out like GO OUT THERE AND GET US SIX WINS IN ONE NIGHT LAMAR would be kinda fun).

Like Stein says, the idea would be to get Odom on board at the last second so he can be easily "re-signed" by picking up an option for next year. And in the meantime, Jackson and whoever Jackson hires can decide whether Odom is ready to recover from injury and overcome hardship to become a productive player again-- something he was just a few years ago before his whole storyline got super weird.

It is, as they say, a low-risk move and a clever circumvention of the Knicks' financial paralysis. Jackson's history with Odom obviously factors in here-- both into the pursuit of Odom and the confidence that the Knicks could succeed where other teams have failed-- but I hope those kinds of relationships didn't and won't override interest in comparable or better players (and eventually coaches and GMs) who aren't yet in Jackson's contacts. I bet Phil Jackson sends out a lot of group texts and emails, by the way. Like, I'd put money on that.

Anyway, this is not done yet and doesn't really matter for these last two games (which don't really matter), but it sounds like it'll be done soon enough.

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