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Lakers Deny Odom Rumors

Times Staff Writer

Laker forward Lamar Odom, the subject of numerous trade rumors throughout All-Star weekend, has not been offered to any team, Laker officials said Sunday.

Odom, who has four years and $45.2 million left on his contract after this season, has lacked aggressiveness at times, although he has been more assertive in taking the ball to the basket in recent games. Odom, 25, is averaging 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds.

Laker General Manager Mitch Kupchak and team spokesman John Black said Odom had not been discussed in any trade talks. The trade deadline is Thursday.

A TV report Sunday said Odom had been offered to the Sacramento Kings for All-Star forward Peja Stojakovic. A published report said Odom was offered to the Utah Jazz for forward Carlos Boozer.

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Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant were acquired by the Lakers last July in the Shaquille O’Neal trade.

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Kobe Bryant’s grandfather, Joseph Bryant, died Friday of unspecified causes in Philadelphia. Bryant will miss today’s practice to attend funeral services and will return to play in the Lakers’ home game Tuesday against the Boston Celtics.

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Bryant and Seattle SuperSonic All-Star guard Ray Allen, adversaries in the past, were three lockers away from each other in the West locker room, which appeared to be fine with both.

Bryant and Allen downplayed the tiff they had during the preseason, when Allen called Bryant selfish and predicted he would ask for a trade within a year or two if the Lakers weren’t successful.

“It’s a dead horse, no need to beat it,” Allen said. “He and I have exchanged greetings and talked about other stuff. It’s been dead. No need to rehash it.”

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As the All-Star break wound down and teams prepared to return to practice today, the San Antonio Spurs, lounging in the top spot in the Western Conference, couldn’t be called the biggest surprise this season. Same for the Miami Heat, which is atop the Eastern Conference.

It might be the Phoenix Suns, although Allen has a different opinion.

“It’s us,” he said. “We didn’t do anything. We brought the same roster we had. Who would have thought with what we had we could be doing what we’re doing?”

The SuperSonics, 35-15 and leading the Northwest Division, are winning with a lineup that relies on Allen and forward Rashard Lewis, also selected to the All-Star team. The Suns, 41-13 and first in the Pacific Division, made two key off-season moves, signing All-Star guard Steve Nash from the Dallas Mavericks and swingman Quentin Richardson from the Clippers.

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