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Monday, April 9, 2012
Should the Knicks pursue Lamar Odom?

By Jared Zwerling

Lamar Odom may be feeling a little down on Monday, after parting ways with the Dallas Mavericks and not being a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but perhaps this will cheer him up a bit: watching Carmelo Anthony's debut at Madison Square Garden, with Dirty Money's "I'm Coming Home" blasting from the jumbotron's speakers.

Odom, like Anthony, is a New York native, and after seeing that pregame introduction, that should make any NBA player from the city that never sleeps want to return to the place where it all started.

So why not Odom?

First off, it's important to note that the power forward is ineligible to play for another team in the playoffs because he wasn't waived before the March 23 deadline, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein. The second thing that if the Mavericks did in fact trade Odom after the season and before June 29, the team on the receiving end would either have to buy him out for $2.9 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that he's scheduled to earn in 2012-13.

Based on those numbers, the obvious question is: Why would the Knicks want to take on that amount now since they have very little wiggle room under the $58 million salary cap? So that obviously won't happen.

Therefore, if Odom and the Knicks were to start a serious dialogue, it would have to commence on July 1, the first day of the free-agency period. Then, of course, would Odom be willing to take less money? He's on the books for $8.9 million this season, and the Knicks would clearly have to ask him to take a paycut in order for them to also sign a few other key role players -- not to mention a starting point guard by the name of Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash or a dark horse, such as the Houston Rockets' Goran Dragic.

While Odom still has the versatile ability to be a starter in this league, he sacrificed those minutes without unrest to come off of the bench for the 2009 and '10 champion Lakers. His interior scoring and rebounding, especially, would be a big boost for the Knicks, whose subs this season currently average 12.1 boards per game -- tied for fourth-worst in the league with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Overall, Odom would be a huge upgrade over Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson, and he would make the Knicks instant title contenders in 2013, along with a proven point guard and a frontcourt featuring Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.

And if there is any other positive to a potential Odom sighting in New York, it's that Chandler played in Dallas and raised the banner there in 2011. Chandler knows how to get it done, and perhaps that extra recruiting and championship connection will come in handy this summer.

Would you like to see the Knicks make a run at Odom in the offseason? Leave us your comments below.

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