How close was Lamar Odom to being an ex-Laker?

A lot closer than previously realized.

What seemed on paper like a predictable, if not protracted resolution to the negotiations between the Lakers and power forward Lamar Odom was actually a surprise ending.

Odom officially signed a new four-year contract worth between $32-33 million on Friday afternoon in front of the television cameras and reporters assembled for a press conference at the team’s practice facility.

But for the second half of the 31 days it took to come to that agreement, Friday’s outcome was very much in doubt. Much more in doubt than previously realized.

When negotiations between the two sides broke down two weeks ago, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss was so frustrated, many people in the organization doubted talks would restart.

Odom said that he had to personally lobby Buss to revisit contract talks and worried, for the first time, that he might not return to the Lakers.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak described the tense two-week period after the Lakers withdrew their offers to Odom as, “at its best case, a time out.

“We had an offer on the table and we took it off,” Kupchak said. “Sometimes you revisit those things, and sometimes you don’t. Early on there was not an indication that we would revisit it.”

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