Marc Stein: Lamar Odom
Sources told ESPN.com that Jackson, who has been searching for a new team since his sudden release by the Spurs shortly before last season’s playoffs in April, has emerged as a prime candidate for the Clippers to sign as early as this week after a series of injuries have decimated L.A.’s depth.
Injuries suffered by starting guard J.J. Redick, top reserve Matt Barnes and rookie forward Reggie Bullock prompted Clippers coach Doc Rivers to announce after Saturday’s loss in Cleveland that the Clippers essentially “have to look somewhere” for reinforcements.
“If you guys have any names, call me and let me know,” Rivers told reporters. “I’ll be on the phone tonight with [Clippers executives] Gary [Sacks] and Gerald [Madkins] and Dave Wohl and I’m praying they know somebody. We’ll see. You never know.”
Former Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown has also been mentioned as a potential target, but Jackson has the sort of size, 3-point shooting range and playoff résumé that could well appeal to Rivers as the Clippers search to fill the void.
It was not immediately known how the prospect of a signing this week, if it indeed comes to fruition, would impact the Clippers’ well-chronicled interest in re-signing veteran forward Lamar Odom. Rivers has spoken optimistically in recent weeks about Odom’s chances of returning to the Clippers after a tumultuous offseason, but the mounting injuries have left L.A. with a more pressing need than Odom might be able to fill. Earlier this month, one source briefed on the state of the Clippers’ courtship of Odom estimated that a return after Christmas was the most realistic timetable as the 33-year-old continues to work his way back into basketball shape.
Redick is out at least six weeks with a fracture in the small bone in his right hand and a tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament. Barnes has been plagued by a torn retina in his left eye that has already required two surgical procedures. And Bullock suffered a suspected high ankle sprain in the loss at Cleveland.
Jackson, meanwhile, has been working out on his own in Texas in hopes of hooking up with another contender. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich abruptly released the 35-year-old in April just six days before the end of the regular season because the Spurs felt that Jackson was unwilling to accept a lesser role in the playoffs behind fast-developing youngsters Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
Jackson later said in numerous interviews that he actually asked the Spurs to move him before the league's annual trade deadline in February but couldn't convince them to go along with the request.
All signals emanating from Clipperland continue to paint the prospect of Lamar Odom's return to his old team as a when-not-if inevitability
But the latest word circulating Sunday, in the wake of the long-term hand and elbow injuries suffered by J.J. Redick, strongly suggests that the widely expected re-signing of Odom is unlikely to take place before the Clippers finish a seven-game road trip in mid-December.
Christmas, according to one insider, is a more realistic target.
The Clippers will undeniably miss Redick for the next six to eight weeks with the eight-year veteran playing the best all-around ball of his career. Don't forget that Matt Barnes has already missed a slew of games before Redick went down.
The Clippers embark Wednesday on a seven-stop, 13-day trip which begins in Atlanta and continues with visits to Memphis, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn and Washington. Odom, meanwhile, continues to work out on his own in anticipation of rejoining the Clippers, with whom he spent last season before a turbulent summer that saw him attached to a string of unflattering headlines in Hollywood's tabloid press.
After a sitdown with Odom last month at the team's practice facility, Clippers coach Doc Rivers has spoken optimistically about Odom's chances of landing a new rest-of-the-season deal.
Rivers went so far as telling NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper on Friday that he is "hoping things work out” with re-signing Odom.
"I honestly haven’t focused on it a lot," Rivers said in the interview. "But he’s somebody that I’ve always liked and I like him more now after hearing from Phil Jackson to Vinny [Del Negro] to all the players the type of guy he is in the locker room. When I hear that stuff, without saying exactly what I heard, you want him in your locker room.”
The Clippers, even before the injuries to Barnes and Redick, elected to keep their 15th roster spot open coming out of training camp for an in-season signing.
“There is not one bit of talk about time frame or anything like that,” Rivers told NBA.com. “I’m just going to play it by ear and see how he’s doing and go from there.
“We’re looking, but it’s not a desperate look right now. I do think we need one more player. It could be a big. It could be another point guard, just to have a third backup for the season. But I don’t tend to make moves that’ll make you stronger during the regular season, because then in the playoffs you shorten your rotation and that was a wasted move most of the time.”
Source on Clippers' meeting Friday with Lamar Odom: "I wouldn't say a deal is imminent, but I'd be surprised if it didn't happen."— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 16, 2013
Odom's visit Friday to Clips' facility first reported by @SpearsNBAYahoo. ESPN reported Thursday that Clips and Lakers were tracking Odom— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 16, 2013
Lamar Odom initially targeted NBA return in second half of season but timetable appears to be accelerated after a month of positive workouts— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 16, 2013
These ain't 2011's Mavs, obviously, but Dirk and LeBron are staging a classic duel in Miami. Which we really never saw during 2011 Finals— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 16, 2013
Now LeBron has a one-legger falling away? Why not?— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 16, 2013