We heard this morning that the Warriors have Lamar Odom on their radar as a potential offseason addition, but Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com questions whether Odom would be a wise investment for Golden State. The Warriors need sure-things, Steinmetz argues, and they don't want to bring in a player that could be a locker-room distraction.
Noting that even trying to sign Odom to the mid-level exception might be ill-advised, Steinmetz all but rules out the possibility of giving up any assets to trade for the veteran. One GM tells Chris Mannix of SI.com that different teams may value the 32-year-old differently, since he's only tradeable to teams for whom he'd want to play (Twitter link). That makes his trade value limited, at best.
Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com is even more pessimistic about what Odom could bring the Mavericks in a trade. The most likely scenario, in MacMahon's opinion, is Dallas essentially paying a team to execute Odom's buyout. If the Mavs dealt Odom, cash, and a second-round pick to a team with enough cap room to absorb Odom's salary, they'd save $2.4MM in 2012/13 cap space and create a trade exception worth $8.2MM. The team acquiring Odom, meanwhile, would sacrifice a small amount of cap room, but could ultimately come out even as far as cash goes, and gain a second-rounder in the deal.
It wouldn't surprise me if a team was able to talk itself into rolling the dice on Odom, and traded for him before or during the June draft. His upside is tantalizing, and perhaps a year removed from this season's drama, he'll bounce back to his previous level of production. But the Lakers are the only team that can be reasonably confident in what they're getting in Odom, and they're the only NBA club that can't acquire him until next season.
It may not have the same amount of intrigue as the draft-lottery balls or Deron Williams' impending free agency, but Odom's fate will be an offseason subplot worth tracking. If he can recapture the form that earned him the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010/11, Odom has the potential to be a huge bargain for his new team. If not, he could be a waste of $8MM+ for one more year.