Odom is one of the key ingredients for the Lakers. Every LA fan knows it. The only question is how key is he? Worth ten million? Twelve?
The answer is that Lamar is as valuable as anybody on the team (Kobe isn't on the team he IS the team). Lamar is the teammate that every player wants, the competitor every fan wants to scream for, the listener every coach searches for, and his stats are among the elite as well. Lamar brings this team immeasurable like locker room leadership and goofiness. Also the matchup problem he creates for other contenders such as the Cleveland LeBrons and San Antonio Spurs. Simply put they can't guard him.
If Kupchak wants to keep Laker fans happy and most importantly keep Mr. Bryant happy, he MUST give Lamar however much money Lamar "Candyman" Odom's sugar filled soul desires.
IF THEY DON'T SIGN LAMAR
Lakers may be doomed.
I believe they will still be a successful team according to average NBA standards, but not to Los Angeles Laker standards. Without a balance like Lamar, Ron Artest is prone to pull this locker room apart. Lamar is goofy enough to keep Ron at bay. They are also childhood friends so he can calm Ron down quickly and easily after he bitches about referees.
Also, Kobe likes to be off the ball in the triangle. Lamar is the only person that can handle the ball if Kobe doesn't. Derek isn't a good enough athlete to be a primary strong side option for a premier team like the Lakers in their offense. Obviously Ron Artest can't handle the ball either. That puts Kobe out of where he prefers to be. Doesn't work for Kobe, doesn't work for Los Angeles.
TO SUM IT UP
Essentially, Lamar Odom is what Kobe needs on the floor. He can handle the ball, hit the three, rebound, and most importantly he understands his role. Lamar was willing to sit whenever he was asked to during the playoffs. Even after his hot series against the Nuggets. During those games he started on the bench, he hit numerous clutch shots and eventually helped close them out. Then, when it really counts, he hit three after three in Game 7 of the Finals. That right there should be worth ten million big ones.
Lamar is a bona fide star on this team, even when he is coming off the bench. Fans love him and if Kupchak wants to win, he should give Lamar Odom his ten million dollars and bite the bullet.