They couldn't tempt Kobe Bryant, but as ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports, the Turkish club Besiktas appears to have landed a different Laker to pair with Deron Williams. Lamar Odom, sources say, has agreed to play with the Istanbul-based squad:
"Final details will not be sorted out before Friday, sources said, but Odom has indicated that he plans to join the Istanbul-based team as early as next week if the NBA lockout continues. Sources told ESPN.com that the deal would pay Odom in excess of $2 million if he spends the rest of the season with Besiktas. The deal -- first reported in Turkey by NTV Spor and local journalist Mete Aktas -- will include an opt-out clause to return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends, same as in Williams' contract.
In an ideal world, Odom will never board a plane, after settlement talks planned for Friday between the league and its players bear fruit, bringing a swift end to the lockout. More likely, any progress will be slower, allowing Odom the opportunity to pond hop.
As I've written, for L.O., it's a good call. He's many things, but historically at least an offseason self-starter hasn't been one of them. When NBA camps eventually open they will be incredibly short. Players typically using a normal preseason to work themselves into shape, as Odom often has, won't have that opportunity. Adding the structure of a team environment can only help. Moreover, Odom is a rhythm player. Getting a few games under his belt (particularly in European competition, which tends to emphasize team play and ball movement, two things at which he excels) makes it that much more likely Odom will hit the ground running when/if the NBA season begins.
Add in the nice chunk of change he'll pocket, and it's a solid proposition for all involved.
For a little more opinion on Odom-to-Turkey, check out the newest edition of The Forum: