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Pau Gasol encouraged Lamar Odom to join Spanish team Laboral Kutxa

Former Lakers and Clippers forward Lamar Odom recently signed to play overseas for Spanish team Laboral Kutxa (also known as Saski Baskonia).

On Friday, the team held a news conference welcoming the two-time NBA champion.

"A new beginning," said Odom of his motivation to joining the Spanish franchise.  "A new environment was important for me."

Odom averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebound and 3.7 assists through 14 NBA seasons (six with the Lakers).  He played for the Clippers last season, the franchise that originally drafted him in 1999.

"I got to play in the incredible city of L.A. and win championships and play with players like Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, coached by Phil Jackson and Pat Riley [in Miami]," said Odom.  "Then sometimes you get to a point in your life where less is more."

Lakers forward-center Gasol was instrumental in helping Odom make the decision to join Laboral Kutxa.

"I was told about Baskonia through my agent.  I spoke to Pau," said Odom.  "I understood that Pau had a great relationship with Coach Sergio [Scariolo], that was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come."

After his final season with the Clippers, Odom went through a number of personal trials including a divorce from Khloe Kardashian and a drunk driving arrest (to which he plead no contest).

"Some may have thought that I had lost focus and love for the game, so it was important for me to regain that love for the game," said Odom.  "And what better place and what better team to do it for than Baskonia?"

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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