After looking for work for the entirety of the 2013-14 NBA season, Lamar Odom has finally found a job playing basketball. Unfortunately for him, this opportunity is coming in Spain with Laboral Kutxa and effectively marks the end of any chance that Lamar will ever play in the NBA again.
On the surface of things it would appear that Odom is going to have a valuable chance to revive his basketball career, and this is actually a true statement. The contract that he is signing only commits the 34-year-old to a two-month stint over in Spain where he will compete in both the Liga ACB and the more vaunted Euroleague. After two months both the club and the player have the option of deciding to end ties, although Odom is believed to want to stay in Europe for the remainder of the current season.
And while it wouldn’t be the craziest thing to happen in sports, why would any NBA team sign Odom for the 2014-15 season? The man hasn’t been productive on a basketball court since he played for the Los Angeles Lakers back during the 2010-11 season. Over the past two years Odom has looked out of shape, disinterested in basketball and he has lost the shooting touch and athleticism that once made him the best sixth man in the NBA which is a toxic mix.
And while on the court things have gone badly for Odom, off the court they have absolutely gone off the rails. Over the most recent summer it was not only tough for agent Jim Schwartz to get a hold of the former star forward, but even family members would not see Odom for days or even weeks at a time. Reportedly he was going on crack cocaine binges, refusing to enter rehabilitation centers and finally hit what seemed to be rock bottom with a DUI on Aug. 30, 2013. Since then he has divorced from Khloe Kardashian but still remains a bit of a wild card off the court.
There is no doubting that these off the court troubles would not be an issue in locker room relations, but they would be when it comes to being able to rely on Odom actually being motivated and reliable enough to come to the court every day. Clearly this thought process was enough to scare away Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers this fall, as he had Odom work out at the club’s facilities but ultimately passed up on his services.
Moving forward it is impossible to see a path back to the NBA for Odom. Simply put, the man does not have enough upside to justify the obvious risks that he poses off the court in terms of public image stains, and he effectively filed NBA retirement papers by signing with Laboral Kutxa.