Yesterday I mentioned how I thought Lamar Odom's comments regarding the proposition of him becoming a sixth man this season -- although he might have been kidding around -- were a little stiff. Apparently Phil Jackson thought so too, and the two talked a bit to hash things out. Odom backed off his comments a bit, but made it clear he wants his minutes this season.
"We talked a little bit. At the end of the day, that's out of my control. He's going to do whatever he wants to do. But I wouldn't suggest that, especially in a year when I want to be on the court, for obvious reasons. - I would take it like he bumped his ... head. Nah, that's a joke. I don't mean that. I would take it as this: He's trying to motivate me a little bit. I'll take it as a challenge."
Nice spin, Lamar. And the "obvious reasons" that Odom makes mention of are in the millions: as in, the millions of dollars he hopes to secure in his next contract, which he will be signing before the start of next season.
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Contract years are not the time that players want to hear that they'll be receiving less minutes in a role off the bench, but Jackson says the minutes might not even change, that it would be more of a role like the one super-sub Manu Ginobili has on the Spurs.
"I think that if you look at teams that are really good, usually a starter is coming off the bench and playing for them, Ginobili for example," Jackson said. "It's hard for players to swallow in this league, because usually they're like, 'OK: my guy is a starter, he's going to get X amount of dollars,' but for people that understand the game, know what's important."
So it seems that Phil has no intention of reducing Odom's minutes, only switching up exactly when they would come. But again, this is before training camp has even started, and Odom and Jackson are already going toe to toe through the media discussing minutes and Odom's contract situation. Definitely something to keep an eye on as things get rolling, and the more these types of comments continue to surface, the more likely it is that Odom will finish the season wearing another team's jersey.