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Friday, September 28, 2012
Odom: Clips are deeper than championship Lakers

By Arash Markazi

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Lamar Odom says he thinks the current Clippers are the deepest team he has ever been on, and yes, that includes the Los Angeles Lakers teams he was on that went to three straight NBA Finals and won back-to-back titles.

"No," Odom said Friday when asked if he has ever been on a team as deep as this season's Clippers. "I've been on good teams. I've been on a team that went to the Finals three years in a row. You have to be pretty good to get to the Finals. But championships aren't won by just talking about a team and looking at a roster. We've all seen good rosters before and teams that we think should win, but this team is built to compete against the best teams in the NBA. If we were to play a seven-game series right now against the best teams in the NBA, I would expect us to compete."

Odom was hesitant to mention the Lakers by name and almost went out of his way to not to say what team his former Lakers teammates were on when he talked about them.

"I spoke to a guy named Derek Fisher, one of the captains of my old teams, last night," Odom said. "And we just talked about winning and the mindset of winning. We spoke for about 45 minutes. Some of that conversation, I'm going to pass on to these guys as soon as we head into the locker room because it is a mindset and there's a certain way that winners think on and off the court."

When Odom was asked why he was hesitant to mention the Lakers by name and if he hated his former team, he laughed and shook his head.

"No, you'd be a fool to hate what you love," Odom said. "But it's out of respect for this team to not mention where you once were. We expect to play and win here so you have to be aware of your surroundings and who you represent now."

Odom said he called Fisher as he routinely does with many of his former Lakers teammates.

"I call all the guys that I've won with, to still pick their brains," Odom said. "I've learned from the best, some of the top coaches and top players and top winners and I've learned from all of them."

Odom was traded to the Clippers on June 30 in a three-team trade that sent Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz and a Utah trade exception to the Dallas Mavericks. His 50 games in Dallas last season were nothing short of a disaster after the Lakers traded Odom to Dallas after their trade for Chris Paul fell through. Odom and Pau Gasol were a part of the Paul deal but, unlike Gasol, Odom wanted to be dealt after the trade was nixed.

Odom shot just 35 percent from the field and averaged a career-low 6.6 points for the Mavericks last season before the two parted ways before the end of the season.

"Sometimes when we go through certain things, other things we've been through in the past might come up and resurface," Odom said. "This summer I've learned a lot about myself. I've been through a lot and I've learned how to channel my energy and my thought and how I think the right way. I've become a lot stronger over the last 12 months. I've been through a lot. I've lost some of the close people to me, buried a child, won championships and got married in front of the world."

Now that he's back in Los Angeles and back with the team that drafted him over 13 years ago, Odom says he believes he will regain the Sixth Man of the Year form he had with the Lakers two seasons ago.

"Sometimes in order to do what we want and do what we expect of ourselves and make good decisions, we have to be in that happy place," Odom said. "You have to be in the right place mentally and I'm in that place. I'm just going get the ball off the glass, eat the glass, and bring it up the court."