In case you were wondering, here is how Lamar Odom's new contract with the Los Angeles Lakers breaks down:
- $25 Million over the first 3 years
- $27 Million total if Lakers don't pick up 4th year option
- $33 Million total if Lakers do picup up 4th year option
That fourth year is a team option, meaning that when that time comes, it will be up to Lakers management to decide if they want to keep Lamar Odom for that final year, or not. If they pick up the option, Lamar will be a Laker for that fourth year as well. If not, he becomes a free agent, explores the market, negotiaties with the Lakers and other teams, etc. You know the drill.
If the Lakers decide not to pick up Odom's fourth year option, they will still owe him $2 million in that fourth year, effecively bumping him up to $27 million for three years (even though that last $2 million won't be paid out until the fourth year). Here, then, is how it breaks down in terms of per-year salary:
- $8.33 Million per year over first 3 years
- $9 Million per year (total average) if Lakers don't pick up 4th year option
- $8.25 Million per year (total average) if Lakers do pick up 4th year option
The bottom line: That fourth year represents a trade-off between salary and commitment. Odom is willing to take a little less per year if he gets a longer commitment, but if the Lakers decide to shorten that commitment, he winds up making more per annum.
It's like a sale at your local department store: "cheaper" and "better value" aren't necessarily the same thing. You may get a better value on the clothes you buy, but because you're motivated to take advantage of the sale, you may still end up paying more than you would have otherwise. Thus, your shopping trip was not "cheaper," but it was a "better value." That's what this is: the Lakers have the option of choosing between cost and value.
In the end, I think it's a good position to be in for both Odom and the team. So while it was quite a process, the end result is a contract that everyone can be happy about — including the fans, who should want to see Odom get as much he deserves, but without financially handicapping the team.