NBA: Lakers, Odom still negotiating amid some frustration
By Broderick Turner
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Lamar Odom sounded frustrated and hopeful — all at the same time.
He sounded frustrated he hasn’t been able to come to terms with the Los Angeles Lakers on a contract. But he sounded hopeful he and the Lakers will get a deal done.
At the end of the day, Odom was asked, does he expect to be back playing for the Lakers next season?
“I don’t know,” Odom told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview. “That’s why there are negotiations. I don’t know. Of course I hope they can get it done.
”It’s negotiations. Both sides are going to give and take. That’s part of it. I don’t know how long it’s going to take.“
The Times has reported that Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, are seeking $10 million a season. The Lakers have offered Odom a deal north of $9 million a season for the first three years.
Odom and Schwartz are seeking more money and years.
”I can’t discuss that,“ said Odom, who attended a screening party Monday night for the DVD featuring the Lakers’ 2008-09 championship run. ”You talk about money, it’s touchy. It’s a touchy subject.
“The Lakers have been too good to me to rub people over there the wrong way. The Lakers have been nothing but great to me, and I want to keep the relationship great.”
Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who improved on his offer of $8 million a season to Odom, is getting frustrated and is thinking about pulling the deal off the table soon.
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak talked at halftime of a game between the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers on Monday in Las Vegas at the summer league, saying that the talks with Odom left him “not as hopeful as I was on Friday.”
When asked why, Kupchak said, “Just a feeling you get.”
“Right now, I’m not sure we’re on the same page.”
Odom was asked whether it was true the Miami Heat has made him an offer.
The Heat only has the mid-level exception of $5.8 million but might be willing to give Odom a five-year, $34 million deal. Miami signed Odom to a five-year, $65-million contract in 2003 before trading him to the Lakers in 2004 in a deal involving Shaquille O’Neal.
“I don’t know how to answer that question,” Odom said about Miami being a suitor. “I’m pretty sure there might be other teams. I just won a championship.”
Odom joined teammates Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar at Club Nokia at LA Live for the screening of the championship video.
Walton and Farmar said they didn’t expect Odom to attend the screening because of his ongoing negotiations.
“I didn’t expect it to be a two-day process.” Odom said. “I expected it to be drawn out because it’s negotiations. You never know how things will go.”
Kupchak was asked whether he was ready to give up on the talks.
“Perhaps,” Kupchak said. “I’m surprised it’s taken this long to get to this point. Obviously, I have a lot more information than you guys do.”
Odom was asked what would happen if he doesn’t get a deal from the Lakers.
“I don’t know. If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, it might be sunny,” Odom said. “Who knows what’s going to happen? But I remain hopeful that it gets done.”