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OK, so it's O for Odom

In the end, Lamar Odom made the smart decision. He turned his back on a second stint with the Heat. Odom-mad

There certainly is no shame in taking a more lucrative offer to return to the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Heat was a long-shot at the beginning to get Odom and, essentially, was so at the end. The Heat certainly made this all interesting. But the Lakers made it obvious.

Odom, according to published reports, accepted the Lakers' four-year, $33 million offer on Thursday. In the process, he walked away from a potential reunion with the Heat, which had offered him up to $34 million over five seasons, with the chance to opt out early.

In the end, are you really surprised? I'm not. The Heat did all it could - offered every dime it had available under league rules - to go after Odom. Guard Dwyane Wade turned Twitter into his own personal recruiting message board for Odom's services.

But this is what you get when you've essentially got $15 to $20 million of unproductive salary-cap weight on the roster from previous bad deals and failed gambles. There's not much wiggle room.

It just didn't work out with Odom. So now what?

In light of Odom's decision, how much excitement could really be generated from the news earlier today that Riley is scheduled to meet with banished free agent point guard Jamaal Tinsley this weekend?

How good does Carlos Boozer look now in the rear-view mirror? Allen Iverson would still be considered an upgrade. But after all of this dancing around with Odom, would Iverson really provide a meaningful answer as a lone addition? Nope.

It's all sort of a microcosm of how the Heat's free agency plans this summer appear to go downhill from here. Credit Riley for doing his job and making a serious push for a roster upgrade - even though the effort only became public after a semi-tantrum from Wade about doing more to improve the team.

Riley peeked out from behind the gloves and took his big shot in free agency - one he was reluctant to take at the end of the season because of the team's salary cap and luxury tax limitations.

At the very least, Riley can't be blamed by fans or questioned by Wade for not trying to do something this offseason to improve the team.  

Now, the new plan seems to be the old plan all over again.

The wait for 2010 resumes.

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports)


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