How the Portland Trail Blazers Can Take the Next Step

Ryan WilsonContributor IJuly 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers answers questions during the post game news conference after defeating the Orlando Magic 101-96 in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

By now, we all know that the Lakers have taken their offer off the table for Lamar Odom, but what we may not know is what this could mean.

If the Lakers lose out on the "Candy Man," there are a few things that could happen.

They could lose him to a team like Miami, which wouldn't be much of a factor to the Lakers. They could lose him to a team like Dallas, which would put the Mavericks at the top of the west, but still not with the Lakers or Spurs. Or they could lose him to the Blazers.

Which one of these situations is best for Lamar?

Well, obviously the most logical choice is just staying put, but on Saturday morning he just may receive a phone call for exactly what he is looking for, but from who?

The Blazers!

Portland is the only team of the three top contenders for his services that has the financial flexibility to offer him close to what he wants. The others barely have a mid-level deal or a big luxury tax, but back to Portland.

If Lamar was to end up in a Blazers uniform next year, it would not only mean that the Lakers were hurting their chances of repeating, but their chances to make it to the finals or even the western conference finals for that matter. The reason being is that I believe that with Odom's experience and leadership, along with Brandon Roy's talent, leadership, and overall potential, Portland will be one of the top two teams in the west.

Yes, above the Lakers and right with the Spurs.

What Portland needs to do to pull this deal off is start talks about big money and years with Odom's agent, because that seems to be the mind of Odom right now, and also as soon as the Jazz match the offer Friday night that would take away all available funds for Paul Millsap, make the offer to Odom.

I believe some TLC (along with money) is the only way that anyone is going to pry him away from L.A. because of his love for L.A. and his friendships with Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant. If the Blazers could pull off a steal like this, not only would it make them a bandwagon fan's new favorite team, but it also makes them the best team in the west.

Look at what they would have to match up with the Lakers:

1. Derek Fisher*—Steve Blake/Jerryd Bayless (half way or less through this season)

2. Kobe Bryant*—Brandon Roy

3. Ron Artest—Lamar Odom*(childhood friends become the ultimate rivals, great for the sport)                                                                                                             

4. Pau Gasol—LaMarcus Aldridge*

5. Andrew Bynum—Greg Oden (this ones a draw, as neither has showed up so far)

6. Laker Bench—Blazer Bench**

*= Advantage

If you look at this and take into factor everything that comes with these two teams, don't you think there is a definite possibility for this to be Portland's time also?

(In the west, not champions just yet.)