Lamar Odom is staying with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed an agreement, but wouldn’t discuss specifics. Odom still hasn’t signed the deal, but could do so as early as Friday.
After nearly a month of uncertainty, the free-agent forward set aside any hard feelings and agreed to a four-year deal worth $33 million, with the fourth year at the Lakers’ option, ESPN.com reported.
Odom, 29, helped L.A. win the NBA championship last month, then sought a five-year, $50 million deal as a free agent. The Lakers initially made offers of three years and $30 million or four years and $36 million, according to the Los Angeles Times, but pulled those offers after Odom began negotiations with the Miami Heat.
Because of salary-cap constraints, Miami could offer only a mid-level deal worth five years and $34 million. Odom and the Lakers resumed negotiations last week and it appears Odom may have had to settle for less than the team’s first offer.
Still, his return bolsters L.A.’s chances to repeat, especially after the team added Ron Artest as a free agent. The Lakers lost Trevor Ariza, who signed with the Houston Rockets, but now go into the 2009-10 season with a nucleus of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Artest and Odom.
Odom joined the Lakers five years ago as part of trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal to Miami. His role diminished as Bynum progressed and the Lakers added Gasol in a trade last year, but his versatility came in handy as a sixth man who rose to the occasion during this year’s playoffs.
Odom averaged 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during the regular season and 12.3 points and 9.1 rebounds during the playoffs.
Portland also apparently made a bid for Odom’s versatile offensive game and passing skills, but the New York City native always made it clear he preferred the personal opportunities and lifestyle only found in Los Angeles, where he spent his first four NBA seasons with the Clippers and his last five with the Lakers.