Before the New York Knicks concluded their disappointing 2014 season with a 95-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Knicks’ President Phil Jackson was busy making his first personnel move.
After weeks of speculation, the Knicks made it official on Wednesday by signing forward Lamar Odom for the rest of the season.
The Knicks were also considering signing Ike Diogu before yesterday’s game, but eventually decided on Odom, as the big man inked a two-year, minimum salary contract that covers the final game of this season and features a non-guaranteed year next season.
Odom is recovering from a back injury that prevented him from playing last night, but the value in his signing comes from his non-guaranteed second season.
The Knicks will be able to use Odom to help match salaries in any deal the club makes before July. Or, if they want to hang on to the veteran, they can evaluate him in the offseason and cut him without taking a salary hit if it’s decided he isn’t fit to make team.
Can Odom help the Knicks next season?
That’s debatable as his best basketball may be behind him. He will have to show the Knicks that he isn’t just fit physically, but mentally as well, which could be the bigger issue.
Odom’s stock plummeted over the summer that saw several issues off the floor, including his eventual divorce from reality TV star Khloe Kardashian. During the 2013 offseason, Odom was arrested on a DUI charge and reportedly also dealt with substance-abuse issues.
Over the course of 14 NBA seasons, Odom has averaged 13.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and has always been one of Jackson’s favorite players.
But he hasn’t seen NBA action since appearing in all 82 contests for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012-13, where he struggled, played an average of 19.7 minutes per night, averaging only 4.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
The Knicks roster now stands at a league maximum 15 players to finish the season.