There have been rumblings the summertime series known as the Lamar Odom contract negotiations is nearing a conclusion.
After the way this thing has played out since July 1st, I’m tired of rumblings. But these do have a shred of truth to them, based on conversations I’ve had in the past couple of days.
CBS 2’s Jill Hill reported this afternoon that Odom will meet with Miami Heat president Pat Riley and superstar guard Dwyane Wade tonight.
Wade has been publicly campaigning for Odom to return to South Florida via his Twitter feed for weeks.
As we mentioned a couple of nights ago, Riley has a home in L.A., so it wasn’t clear if he was coming out West to meet with Odom or just to spend some time in his former haunts.
I still believe, based on recent conversations I’ve had with people who haven’t taken the vow of radio silence some of the principals in the negotiations have, that Odom will be back with L.A.
The Miami gambit is merely his best leverage at getting the Lakers to sweeten their offer. But financially, he can still make the most with the Lakers.
Earlier today, I spoke with a league source who said Odom may be toying with the idea of signing with Miami and testing free agency again in three years. If he thinks he can get a new contract after that third year, for more money, the financial picture starts to match up better.
With the way the league’s finances are going though, and the fact Odom will be 32 in three years, I can’t see him getting a better offer later. Which makes that idea a huge gamble.
The only other reason I can see Odom bolting is if he’s emotionally disappointed by how the Lakers handled the process. If he’s hurt they didn’t give him what he asked for, and merely likes the public courting the Heat have done.
Odom is a loyal guy, and an emotional guy, so it’s hard to know his state of mind. But he’s also a businessman, who has been successful in several different fields. I think that wins out in the end.