Lakers' Lamar Odom, Phil Jackson discuss issues

Veteran talks about accusations by the Clippers that he made an obscene gesture during their game Wednesday, and the coach addresses his future with the team.

January 25, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

A normally subdued Saturday afternoon turned into a busy day at the Lakers' practice facility, where Andrew Bynum prepared for Tim Duncan, Lamar Odom answered to the Clippers' claims of crotch-grabbing, and Phil Jackson said his future with the Lakers would remain one season at a time.

Jackson, 63, is under contract through next season but said he would again go through an annual checklist before deciding whether to return.

As he does after every season, he'll evaluate how he feels physically -- he has had both hips replaced and an angioplasty in 2003 to clear a blocked artery -- before possibly returning for a 19th season as an NBA coach.

"I signed a two-year contract that I'll do one year at a time, which is pretty normal [for me], right?" he said.

Jackson, who would be paid $12 million next season if he came back, said winning a championship this season would not factor into his decision.

More likely, he'll ponder whether he thinks he can still motivate players and tolerate the rigors of so many nights in so many cities.

Jackson was, however, surprised to hear that the Clippers called the league to complain after Odom hung on the rim with one hand and grabbed his crotch with the other after dunking in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 108-97 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night.

"Wow. I'll have to look at that," Jackson said. "I missed that. I wasn't aware of that."

A league spokesman said NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson was reviewing the incident.

On Saturday, Odom initially denied the gesture happened, saying that "somebody's wrong" and that it was "too bad the Clippers feel like that" because he simply "hung on the rim."

Then he sort of apologized.

"My intention is not to offend anybody, especially when I'm playing basketball," said Odom, who spent his first four seasons with the Clippers before they declined to re-sign him because of what they said were "issues of character and other risks involved."

Said Odom: "I wish them well -- everyone from the players to everyone in the front office. I'm being dead serious, man. I played for the Clippers six years ago. I don't even know how to respond, but, no that wasn't my intention at all."

Meanwhile, the Lakers have a game this afternoon against the second-place team in the Western Conference.

Bynum has averaged 32.5 points and 14.5 rebounds the last two games, though the Clippers and Washington were undermanned in the middle, to say the least.

A better test will come tonight against Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Said Jackson: "[Bynum] is going up against a really good defender."

Not buying it

Forward Vladimir Radmanovic was almost an hour late for a recent shoot-around because his alarm didn't go off, he said.

He was fined by the team and didn't enter Thursday's game until the Lakers were ahead by 35 points with 1 minute 55 seconds left in the third quarter.

It didn't seem like enough of a punishment for at least one former NBA player.

"When you come to shoot-around with only five minutes left because you say your alarm clock didn't go off, that's a little spacey," TNT analyst Reggie Miller said. "He could say traffic was bad. I could go with that in L.A. But don't say your alarm clock didn't go off. Are you kidding me?"

Farmar update

Jordan Farmar took part in a light practice but will not play today, Jackson said.

The reserve guard has been out since Dec. 19 because of surgery for a torn knee cartilage. He is expected to return to game action at some point this week.


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