And with reports coming midday today, Mo Williams has agreed to pick up his option and be traded to the Utah Jazz, the team that first drafted him in 2003. It should be a happy reunion as Kevin O’Connor (Utah’s GM) has stated that not retaining Williams has been the GM’s biggest mistake.
Mo was initially brought into lead a young nucleus of Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, rising stars on a team with no real history of winning. Things changed dramatically, though, when the Clippers added not one, but two likely Hall-of-Fame point guards to the roster last offseason. Williams soldiered on and filled in admirably as the 6th man, a role he was unfamiliar with, but his ambitions to start coupled with the logjammed backcourt made Mo’s position with the Clippers untenable. And with that, we bid adieu.
But with the departure of one prodigal son, another returns. Lamar Odom -a part of the early Aughts’ Baby Clips, the 2011 6th Man of the Year, Kardashian by proxy- is coming home again. Under a swirl of personal tragedy and questions of motivation, Lamar will be back with the Clippers on an expiring salary of $8.2 million (which means the Clippers’ payroll situation is unchanged: approximately $11 million total before hitting the tax line). Odom is not only playing in a contract year, he is also now realistically competing to make the 2012 Olympic squad (Chris Bosh has pulled out).
What does Odom have left in the tank? How does he fit in with this iteration of the Clippers? How should we feel about LO back in the number 7? Will his number still be 7? Does this mean Khloe and Lamar & Keeping Up with the Kardashians is required viewing now? We’ll have answers to these and more in the coming days. Because coming home raises almost as many questions as it answers.