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Lamar Odom is coming back to Clippers

Former sixth man of the year says his bad year in Dallas was because of off-court issues. Mo Williams goes to Utah in four-team trade.

June 29, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Lamar Odom will make his return to Los Angeles this summer when he rejoins the Clippers.
Lamar Odom will make his return to Los Angeles this summer when he rejoins… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

The Clippers filled one of their pressing needs to secure a talented big man when they acquired Lamar Odom from the Dallas Mavericks in a four-team trade that sent guard Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz on Friday.

After Williams exercised his $8.5-million player option for next season, the Clippers and Mavericks were able to conclude the deal to send Odom back to the Clippers, the team that drafted him in 1999.

With the versatile 6-foot-10 Odom, the Clippers have a backup big man to play behind power forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan.

"I'm looking at this like it's a good fit to be going back to the Clippers," Odom said. "I think that the Clippers have some very good pieces. I like the wayChris [Paul] and Blake compete. I think basketball-wise, it'll be pretty easy for me to play with this team."

Odom, 32, will make $8.2 million for the 2012-13 season.

He played four seasons with the Clippers, one with Miami, and eight seasons for the Lakers and won two championships with them, as well as being selected the sixth man of the year in 2010-11.

The Lakers traded Odom to Dallas in December and he had miserable season, with career-lows in virtually every category, including averaging only 6.6 points in 50 games.

The Clippers had some trepidation about acquiring Odom because of his poor play in Dallas. But their fears were allayed after Coach Vinny Del Negro and President Andy Roeser met with Odom on Thursday at the team's practice facility in Playa Vista.

"I know all the questions will be about Dallas and will I be a good fit with the Clippers," Odom said. "But [last season] was hard for me after all I went through off the court last summer — the death of my cousin, the death of someone from a car accident I was involved in. For me, it was one too many things to deal with."

As part of the Odom deal, the Clippers sent the draft rights of their second-round draft pick, Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir, to the Houston Rockets.

The Jazz could take on Williams' $8.5-million salary and not have to send a player to the Mavericks because the Jazz will give Dallas the trade exception it got by trading Mehmet Okur to the New Jersey Nets last season.

Dallas will also get draft picks from Utah and cash from Houston.

Meanwhile, Williams, who was drafted in 2003 by Utah and played only one season there, hopes to be a starter in Utah. "I'm grateful for my time with the Clippers," Williams said. "But at the same time, I'm excited about going back to the team that drafted me."

Now the Clippers can work on trying to find a big shooting guard when free agency starts Saturday at 9 p.m. PDT, and to offer contract extensions to All-Stars Griffin and Paul.

The Clippers are expected to offer Griffin a five-year extension that could be worth up to $95 million, with an opt-out clause after the fourth season. Griffin also could sign a four-year extension. Griffin, who will earn $7.2 million next season, is expected to sign one of the deals.

The Clippers are expected to offer Paul a three-year extension worth $60 million. But Paul, who will make $17.7 million next season, is likely to turn down that offer. Instead, the point guard is likely to wait and decide whether to accept the Clippers' five-year, $110-million extension offer in July 2013.

The Clippers are also expected to make offers to re-sign free-agent guards Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye and Nick Young. Billups is still recovering from season-ending Achilles' tendon surgery. The Clippers also have an interest in unrestricted free-agent guard Jamal Crawford.

The Clippers are not expect to make offers to free-agent forwards Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans.

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