Lamar Odom taking talent to Spain
Lamar Odom is on the verge of launching his basketball comeback in Spain, as the 34-year-old has reached an agreement with Laboral Kutxa.
The club announced that the former Los Angeles Lakers forward has a two-month contract, which includes an option to extend the deal for the remainder of the season, to fill a roster spot that opened up because of injury.
Such deals typically contain out clauses that allow established veterans such as Odom to return to the NBA if the opportunity arises, but sources told ESPN.com on Monday that Odom's plan is to play out the rest of this season in Spain before determining whether to attempt an NBA comeback.
Odom could make his debut Saturday against Valladolid. Laboral Kutxa is ninth in the 18-team Spanish league and last in its Euroleague group.
"We're very happy to have signed a very important player who has had a long and fruitful career in the NBA,'' Laboral Kutxa president Josean Querejeta said in a statement.
"We've worked very hard over the last couple of days to make this happen, we felt we needed a boost and had to break the collective cloud that has been hanging over us over the last while so we could get back to winning.''
A free agent since completing the 2012-13 season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Odom appeared close to a return to the NBA in November, when new Clippers coach Doc Rivers invited Odom to the team's practice facility to gauge the state of his game and well-being following a tumultuous summer.
Rivers went so far as telling NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper at the time that he was "hoping things work out" with re-signing Odom, who averaged a career-low 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in 88 NBA games last season.
But the Clippers ultimately decided to sign three of Odom's veteran peers instead: Stephen Jackson, Hedo Turkoglu and Sasha Vujacic. Although only Turkoglu has stuck, sources say Odom has decided to relaunch his career far removed from the NBA spotlight in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, where he'll team up with a familiar NBA face in Andres Nocioni.
The Clippers and Lakers both registered interest in signing Odom last summer until his private life became a near-daily subject for the tabloid media. Odom's divorce from reality TV star Khloe Kardashian was made official in December.
The news that Odom was in talks with the Spanish club was first reported Monday by leading European basketball correspondent David Pick.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.