It’s a long shot. He would probably have to take less money and turn down a chance to be on a contender. But the Warriors have an eye for Lamar Odom to fill out their starting lineup next season. File it under the would-be-nice list (Not exactly on the what-are-you-smoking list that was once topped by Dwight Howard hopes).
The Warriors have four spots in their starting lineup, on paper, set for next season. Stephen Curry is the point guard. Klay Thompson is the shooting guard. David Lee is the power forward and Andrew Bogut is the center. It would take something major for those four not to be starters next season. That leaves the small forward position as the only place in the starting lineup semi-available for upgrading. Lamar Odom would be an upgrade of the current quartet of Dorell Wright, Dominic McGuire, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush. Mostly because Odom provides what they don’t. Even with this atrocious season he’s had, Odom’s career averages are 14.6 points on 46.5 percent shooting with 8.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
The Warriors would loooooooooove that kind of production at small forward. Multiple team sources told me Odom would be a good fit. He’s someone on their radar.
What’s more, Odom gives them another creator on the floor, another person to run the show in transition. Because of the four set starters and four SFs on the roster, only Curry and McGuire can consistently create for someone else, have enough ball-handling and vision for Mark Jackson to feel comfortable with them having the ball in their hands a lot. Based on the four starters penciled in for next season, the Warriors desperately need a playmaker at small forward (presuming Klay Thompson will take some time before he can be a consistent creator). Bogut helps because he has a back-to-the-basket game and he can pass. But he’s not going to run a break or make a play out of nowhere. You need at least two playmakers.
Perhaps that’s the best lure the Warriors would have for Odom, a chance to be a centerpiece in the offense, to get back to his playmaking roots. And a chance to stick it to the Lakers four times a year.
Odom is set to make $8.2 million next year. But Dallas has a team option. If they cut him, only $2.4 million of that is guaranteed. Golden State wouldn’t have money to outbid anyone. They’d have the mid-level exception (about $5.6 million this season) to offer Odom and hope he just wants to play with the Warriors. (Of course, a contender may want to offer Odom the mid-level as well. Or a team with cap space could through $8 -10 million at him.) Of course, with stories like these out there, he may wind up happy with a full mid-level offer.
The other option is a trade. But then, Golden State would have to come up with a package Dallas would want. Fortunately, Dallas won’t have to decide on Odom until after the draft, meaning he can be moved in a draft-day trade.