In short, shipping Lamar Odom to Dallas is an example of a non-simultaneous exception, and allows the Lakers his salary ($8.9 million) plus $100,000 to work with in future trades (the Lakers have a year to use the credit they received from the trade exception). With this newly acquired $9 million, the Lakers are free to trade with other teams in search of replenishing vacated spots in their lineup.
For many fans, the major question is how this trade exception can be used to assist in the quest to bring Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. Can L.A. trade Bynum for Howard and use the trade exception of $9 million to relieve Orlando of Hedo Turkoglu’s contract? The short answer is no. Hedo is scheduled to receive $10.6 million this year, and the trade exception is not large enough to take on his contract from Orlando. Unless Orlando suddenly desires to trade Howard for Bynum straight up (unlikely considering they recently demanded both Pau and Bynum for Howard), the Lakers’ inability to absorb Hedo’s contract is a major stopping point.
Others have vocalized the possibility of taking on Jameer Nelson’s contract with Dwight Howard, using the Odom exception to cover Jameer’s contract, and trading Bynum for Howard. This trade would give the Magic almost $10 million in additional cap space, plus a capable center in Andrew Bynum. At the same time, many also view this trade as unlikely, as it completely voids the Magic roster of any continuity (Howard, Nelson, Arenas and Bass would have all left to other teams, leaving very little to build around besides Bynum).
Undoubtedly, there are many options that the Lakers have at their disposal. The Lakers still have the $5.4 million dollar trade exception from the Sasha Vujacic trade a year ago, and with $9 million from this recent transaction, the Lakers have money to work with (although trade exceptions cannot be combined).
What they do not have, however, is the intangible qualities that Odom brought to this Lakers team. With Phil Jackson’s retirement, the lockout, a new system to learn and the fresh upheaval caused by the Chris Paul fiasco, continuity and cohesiveness is invaluable to this team. Let’s hope management knows what it is they’re doing.
But as GM Mitch Kupchak recently stated:
“We were hoping that things would change in a day or two, but his representative called me on Saturday and said it’s not going to change, and requested that (Odom) be traded. We worked together to find a spot that would give us the most flexibility going forward. There are a lot of teams in the NBA that would take a player like Lamar and you could probably do it in a day, but you’d have to take back players, and you might not like the players you were getting back, and there might be long (financial) commitments going out. That’s not something we were interested in doing.”
From a fan’s standpoint, it is hard to justify moving a player that we’ve come to love, but as Kobe reiterated, Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers front office have been very successful at keeping the Lakers competitive in recent years. Let’s hope they can continue that great tradition of winning, albeit this time it is at Lamar Odom’s expense.