|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
LOS ANGELES -- Clippers coach Doc Rivers confirmed the team met with free-agent forward Lamar Odom on Friday.
Rivers described the meeting as "a good conversation," but added, "it didn't go much further than that."
One source connected to the talks told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Friday night that both sides have serious interest in making the reunion official after Odom played for the Clippers last season.
Rivers confirmed that his interest in the troubled forward is strong, but downplayed the state of any current negotiations.
"I've always had interest in him. I've always liked him," Rivers said. "The teams he's played on and the coaches who have coached him have always liked him, but honestly it really didn't go much further than that."
Rivers said that he and Odom had exchanged text messages in recent weeks, before Friday's meeting. His motivation for meeting with Odom in person was simply "just wanting to see him physically and see how he was doing."
Rivers added that Odom "looked good ... like his weight was really down and he was in good shape, but that doesn't mean a lot."
A source close to the situation told Stein on Friday night: "I wouldn't say a deal [with the Clippers] is imminent, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't happen."
ESPN.com reported Thursday that the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers were monitoring Odom's progress as closely as they can with interest in signing him if he proves his personal and legal issues are behind him. Odom has been working out for the past month, sources said, with an eye toward a return in the second half of the season. But he's said to be ahead of schedule in terms of getting back into basketball shape, which appears to have accelerated the timetable.
The Clippers and Lakers both registered interest in signing Odom this past summer until his private life became a near-daily subject for the tabloid media. But the 33-year-old's positive history with both teams, sources say, has kept the door open for a return in L.A. as long as he can convince the teams that he's committed to resurrecting his NBA career after a worrying string of headlines that included allegations of drug use and an August arrest on a DUI charge.
The Clippers currently have 14 players on their roster. They have been considering several options for that 15th roster spot, sources say, which is among the reasons -- along with luxury-tax concerns -- that they kept the spot open coming out of training camp.
Information from ESPN.com's Marc Stein was used in this report.