10:38pm: A source tells Stein that a deal doesn’t appear imminent, but that he’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen at some point. Odom has put in a month of encouraging workouts, speeding up his original plan to sign in the second half of the season (Twitter links).
9:36pm: Free agent Lamar Odom met for almost two hours with Doc Rivers and Clippers front office officials today after practice, leaving Clippers players with the impression that the team will sign him soon, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). The players were “shocked” to see him, and the 34-year-old looks like he’s in shape, Spears also tweets.
A report just yesterday indicated the Clippers, as well as the Lakers, maintain interest in the troubled power forward. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne wrote then that neither team had made recent contract with Odom other than to check on his well-being, but that appears to have changed after today’s Clippers meeting. The ESPN report indicated that Odom would have to prove he’s healthy both mentally and physically before either team would sign him, and that he was eyeing a comeback in the second half of the season. That timetable may have been accelerated.
The Clippers have an open roster spot and have reportedly been considering multiple options for filling it. They’re about $2.4MM shy of their hard cap for the season, but Odom isn’t likely to merit more than a minimum-salary deal.
A source tells Spears that Odom’s presence at the Clippers facility today was indeed shocking, but added that it was “good surprise” (Twitter link). It appears Odom, who faced personal and legal troubles this summer, including a DUI charge and rumors of drug use, could be back on the right path. He returned to Los Angeles last season after a tumultuous year in Dallas in which the Mavericks told him to stay away from the team for the last several weeks of 2011/12. Odom has played 12 of his 14 seasons for one L.A. team or the other, and though the Knicks, from his native New York, reportedly had interest over the summer, Odom seems committed to staying in the City of Angels.