With the 2009 NBA playoffs still a month away from ending, I cannot help but think of our upcoming offseason and our free agents to be, Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza. I wonder if the Lakers will make a serious effort to resign both? Can they afford to sign both? Part of me wants to believe that the Lakers could survive without Odom, who figures to be a hot commodity, especially if he continues his strong post-season play, but I think that is me in denial. That is, in denial about what could very well turn out to be Odom's last season as a Laker. Think about it. He is good enough to be a starter in this league. There was some talk as to his being unhappy about coming off the bench; however, his unselfishness disallows any complaining. He's got a good attitude, is a team player, and a very good all around player. Teams will be after him, and probably offer him more than the Lakers will be willing to pay. Further, winning a title this season may make it easier for Odom to leave for a bigger paycheck. Then again, winning the title may make it difficult for him to leave. He may feel that his best chance at winning another title (or even multiple titles) is with the Lakers.
Adding to the possibility of a Lamar Odom departure is the surging play of Trevor Ariza. The man is a talented player with much room for growth. He is pretty good already. He is a very good defender, and hustles on almost every play. Fans and coaches alike love players who play their hearts out. While Ariza does not have the all around skills that Odom possesses, he is a better defender. Again, Ariza can develop into a polished player--3 point shooter (which would help the team tremendously), a better rebounder, and a better scorer--but even at his peak I just don't see him having the all around talent that Odom has. But he doesn't have to, for on our team he will be the 4th option at best.
Here's to wishing we keep both players, and maintain a strong, and deep team. I hope both players take less money in favor of winning championships. They both are key contributors to our basketball team and they both will play huge roles in our championship run this year.