He was gone. There was a different Lamar Odom trade rumor every day. For Shawn Marion. Ron Artest. Jason Kidd. Richard Jefferson. Gerald Wallace. The walking corpse known as Jermaine O'Neal. Brad Miller even popped up, exemplifying just how underappreciated Odom was in the Laker organization. Brad Fucking Miller? Yeah.
Then there was the well-publicized move to the 6th man spot, a transition that Odom openly bristled about initially before accepting his role for the good of the team.
And all this in the shadow of his child's tragic death.
Well, five years after coming to LA (with Caron Butler) in the blockbuster Shaq trade with Miami, Lamar Odom is a champion. Say what you want about the man (he eats too much candy!) but there's no arguing that he's a winner.
He's also a 2009 unrestricted free agent, which means if the team wants to keep him, they're going to have to shell out the big bucks. With starting SF Trevor Ariza also up for a new contract, this puts the brass in a tough spot. Chances are they don't pony up the dough needed to keep both of these guys. If this does turn out to be the last time we see Lamar in a Lakers jersey, it's fitting that he'll be remembered for hoisting the trophy and not pounding entire bags of Now and Laters.