J.A. Adande and Marc Stein report that the Lakers and Lamar Odom have come to terms.
Doesn't it feel that this was somewhat inevitable? Five reasons I say that:
The Lakers just cracked open their potentially long championship window with Odom an essential playoff contributor. The team and the player would be motivated to keep the gang together to keep the good times rolling. (Look at the comments on the news story ... the quick consensus is that this makes the Lakers favorites in 2009-2010 and beyond.)
The presence of Ron Artest gave the Lakers some insurance against Odom's departure. But it also represented enough change for one off-season, thus raising the value of stability, which Odom represents.
His alternative was the Miami Heat, whose roster has its highlights, to be sure, but doesn't inspire nearly the same kind of long-term confidence that the Lakers' does. For instance: If Michael Beasley becomes an All-Star, would Odom really be his ideal frontcourt companion? If Beasley doesn't become an All-Star, do the Heat have any chance of greatness?
Odom has played nine of his 10 professional years in the city of Los Angeles, whether as a Clipper or Laker.
Odom has had countless massive challenges, including the tragic death of a child. He has been open and honest in talking about them. For this and other reasons, the people of Los Angeles seem to have developed a special bond with Odom, and he with them.