NEW YORK -- Phil Jackson’s first signing as team president is an indicator of one way he will try to improve the team.
By bringing Queens product Lamar Odom to New York, Jackson is trying to improve the New York Knicks with a low-risk, cheap move.
The Knicks signed Odom prior to the regular-season finale against Toronto to a two-year deal. A source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley that the deal is guaranteed for the remainder of the season, which concludes Wednesday, and contains a non-guaranteed option for next season.
So that means it is a low-risk move despite the baggage Odom may bring with him. If the Knicks don't want him, he won't be owed any money next season.
Odom hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012-’13 season when he averaged just 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds for the Clippers. Prior to that, Odom spent a tumultuous 50 games with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011-’12.
Odom’s last good season was with the Lakers in 2010-’11 when he averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds. That was the last season Jackson coached the Lakers. Jackson and Odom were together from 2005 to 2011.
By bringing in Odom, Jackson is hoping he can get the versatile 6-foot-10 forward back on track both mentally and physically. Odom spent a short stint this season in Spain before suffering a back injury.
If Odom, who turns 35 in November, has anything left and can get his body and mind right, Jackson will have found a veteran with championship experience and a versatile big man who might be able to give the Knicks a few quality minutes. But, most important, Odom can help teach the nuances of the triangle offense to the Knicks, who likely will have a new coach with a new triangle system in place this summer.
If the Odom experiment doesn’t work, the Knicks don’t lose much financially. They have the next few months to get him back in shape while the Zen Master gets him back in the right state of mind as well.
Considering the Knicks likely will not be able to clear significant cap space until after next season, Jackson will try to improve the roster as much as he can with moves like this one.
So Odom is probably the first of many more triangle guys to come.
Jackson has made just one roster move so far. But it’s a low-risk move and the first step toward putting his finger prints on the Knicks.