It's Official: Lakers forward Lamar Odom signs contract
To eliminate any potential doubt about whether forward Lamar Odom really is staying with the Lakers, General Manager Mitch Kupchak made sure that Odom took care of one thing before speaking to reporters: Signing the contract.
"I guess it's a little late to ask him for a little bit more," joked Odom, who then signed, in front of reporters, a contract calling for a four-year deal for $33 million, with a team option for the final year.
"You can ask," Kupchak answered.
The signing capped a month of negotiations that Kupchak described as taking "many twists and turns."
Jerry Buss removed two offers in early July because the Lakers owner felt Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, didn't respond quickly enough. One was worth up to $36 million for four years, but only three years and $27 million were guaranteed, with the Lakers' buyout in the fourth year worth $3 million. Another was a three-year, $30-million offer that would have paid Odom $10 a season. Buss then removed a third offer two weeks ago that was worth $36 million over four years.
Despite interest from the Miami Heat that Odom described as "aggressive," the lure of another Lakers championship run prevailed in the end.
"It was a tedious time," Odom said. "But with patience and prayer, I'm back to where I want to be and where I want to end my career."
-- Mark Medina
Photo: Forward Lamar Odom, left, gets ready to sign his new contract as Lakers General Manager hands him a pen during a press conference on Friday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times