Lamar Odom is reportedly in a Los Angeles hotel, as friends seek to get him help for an alleged drug problem, according to ESPN. His agent, Jeff Schwartz, would not confirm his whereabouts.
The former Lakers star had reportedly been MIA for the last several days, causing rampant speculation as to his whereabouts. The news comes at the same time rumors are breaking that Odom has separated from his wife of four years, Khloe Kardashian, over his battle with an addiction to crack cocaine. The 6'10" forward for the Los Angeles Clippers has been the subject of drug rumors in the past, which have resurfaced recently as he had supposedly lost contact with friends and family.
It's unclear where Odom is, what he's doing, and how "missing" he actually is. However, this sort of behavior can hardly be characterized as a good sign. From a career perspective, this incident doesn't help his free agent prospects. It's hard to know if drugs are at play here, since hyperbolic media reports have become the primary source of news about Odom. It should be noted, however, that Odom passed his drug test this past year. In fact, he has passed a drug test every year since 2001.
Of course there are ways to get around a drug test, but until ironclad evidence is brought forward linking Odom to drug abuse, many of these reports can be chalked up to speculation and given primarily rumor-status.
It will be interesting to watch for how this affects Odom's free-agency status. Odom, who suited up for the Clippers last season, is a free agent and certainly has some good basketball left in him. The question is, who will take him? Last week, Brad Turner, an L.A. Times beat writer covering the Clippers, reported via Twitter:
"Clippers informed former Laker Antawn Jamison team waiting on answer from Lamar Odom as preferred option before Jamison, sources."
It appears that Odom was the Clippers's first option, with Jamison taking a back seat. ESPN is now reporting that the Clips are getting ready to close on a deal with Antawn Jamison, which may imply they are done with Odom. Is this connected to Odom's off- the-court drama? It's hard to say, but there a case can certainly be made that it could be. Will he generate any interest from other teams?
One thing is for sure: if Odom really is suffering from drug abuse, he needs to get checked into a drug rehab center.