Sources: Knicks eye Lamar Odom

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Friday, April 11, 2014

The New York Knicks have expressed interest in signing veteran free agent Lamar Odom, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources told that the Knicks, at the behest of new team president Phil Jackson, have been looking into the possibility of signing Odom since the 34-year-old's short stint playing in Spain ended and are weighing whether to go through with adding the Queens native to their roster before the regular season ends.

Among the options the Knicks are considering, sources said, is signing Odom before Wednesday's regular-season finale to a contract that includes a team option for next season.

Doing so would enable the Knicks to work with Odom throughout the offseason before deciding if he's ready to play -- physically and mentally -- in time for the start of the 2014-15 season.

ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported during the telecast of last week's Knicks-Nets game that Jackson met with Odom during the contest. It was initally believed the meeting was more personal in nature, but sources told this week that Jackson is interested in pursuing an on-court reunion with the former Laker if Odom convinces the Knicks he's serious about a comeback.

Odom would be eligible for the playoffs as long as he joined the Knicks before their regular-season finale at home Wednesday night against Toronto, since he was not on an NBA roster as of March 1. But sources said that the Knicks, if they go ahead with the move, would realistically be signing Odom now with an eye toward using the summer to get him ready for next season.

Odom has been in New York since a back injury cut short his stint with Laboral Kutxa Baskonia in the Spanish ACB after just two games.

The Spanish club announced in mid-March that Odom has "finished his present contract" after the player's U.S.-based doctors ruled him unfit to play for at least a month. Odom left Spain for the States with the club's permission to get a second opinion.

Odom signed a two-month contract with Baskonia on Feb. 18. He originally planned to play out the rest of the 2013-14 campaign in Europe before determining whether to attempt an NBA comeback, but Jackson's emergence as the Knicks' shot-caller has put one of Odom's biggest fans in position to help him get his career back on track.

Odom was traded from the Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks after Jackson's final season as Lakers coach in 2010-11 and has since struggled to approach the same level of production he regularly managed under Jackson.

The Clippers and Lakers had expressed interest in signing Odom at various points this season after a tumultuous summer off the floor that included his eventual divorce from reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. But both teams ultimately passed, leading Odom to make his return in Spain.

New Clippers coach Doc Rivers went so far as bringing Odom to the team's practice facility in November for a well-publicized interview to gauge the state of his game and well-being before opting instead to sign a succession of veteran free agents: Stephen Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu, Sasha Vujacic, Glen Davis and Danny Granger.

Odom played for Jackson for five seasons in Los Angeles and was part of two championship teams. But during the 2013 offseason, after spending the 2012-13 season with the Clippers, Odom was arrested on a DUI charge and reportedly suffered from substance-abuse issues.

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