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Odom either plays better or is traded

October 24, 2008|Mark Heisler

At the end of last season, Mike Bresnahan and I wrote that the Lakers could be expected to shop Lamar Odom -- by which, of course, we meant we expected them to shop him.

Lakers officials didn't like that -- since they had no intention of shopping him.

That didn't mean they had decided to keep him. They hadn't made any decision at all.

The problem was, with Odom's $14 million-per contract running out this season, no decision was tantamount to a decision.

Odom's contract has been the shadow looming over his future here from the moment they got Pau Gasol.

The Lakers got Gasol so cheap because they were the only team willing to take on an additional $90 million in salary and luxury tax the next three seasons.

The only way for the Lakers to soften the hit was to move someone making big money. OK, who among them making big money can be a free agent next summer?

Let's see, there's Kobe and Lamar.

One thing could still change this equation: Lamar going back to playing as well as he did after Gasol arrived.

That would give the Lakers a reason to try to find another solution, but it hasn't happened yet.

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