According to Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks have signed free agent forward Lamar Odom.
Despite Odom not appearing in the team’s final game of the regular season, Odom has signed a deal with the Knicks that will run into the next season.
Contracts of this kind aren’t irregular, but they often never happen with a player of Odom’s fame. Typically teams find a player they’re interested in and sign him to a deal that goes into next season to keep an eye on how they work out in the summer. When that guy is a younger player, they appear on the teams Summer League team. With the second year of his contract non-guaranteed, the Knicks will use the upcoming summer to evaluate Odom seeing if he’s fit to contribute to the team next season.
It’s fair to say that Odom’s contract signing has everything to do with Phil Jackson being in the front office. The two won back-to-back championships together with the Los Angeles Lakers and Jackson is the perfect guy for Odom to absolve himself in after a year of troubles linked to marriage and drug addiction.
Regardless of how Phil Jackson feels about Odom, Lamar’s play on the court will be the ultimate deal-settler if he wants. While his play has declined in the last three seasons, Odom’s basketball IQ still allows him to be a solid rotation player as he proved he still belongs in the league during his tenure with the Clippers. Offensively, he’s a wash, at least from a scoring angle. If you need him as a secondary ballhandler, then he fits the need. Defense and on the boards is where he makes his money and those are two places the Knicks could use help immediately in those categories.
Lamar Odom averaged 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game with the Clippers in 2011-12.