Clippers pursuing trade for Lamar Odom

Just because the Clippers don’t pick until late in the second round (53rd) of the NBA draft Thursday doesn’t mean they aren’t looking for ways to make improvements.

One of their needs is for a scoring big man.

The Clippers have had conversations with the Dallas Mavericks about bringing back forward Lamar Odom to the team that drafted him, according to several people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The Clippers would trade Mo Williams to the Mavericks for Odom, the people said, but Dallas wants L.A. to get a third team involved before discussions can continue.

Dallas has a Friday deadline to buy out the final year of Odom’s $8.2-million contract for $2.4 million. Williams would be paid $8.5 million in the final year of his contract, so the deal would work under the collective bargaining agreement.

The Clippers remain in the process of trying to figure out how to get the deal done, the people said, so that Odom can become a Clipper and Williams can be moved from the Mavericks to another team.

Those close to Odom who were not authorized to speak publicly said he has been told that a deal is possible and that he would welcome a return to the Clippers to be the backup behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

“We’re always looking to improve our team,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said when asked about the trade talks. “And obviously we’re trying to fill some holes that need to be filled and we’re looking at every opportunity and every option that continues to put us heading in the right direction.”

Williams, the third-highest-paid player on the team, has until Saturday to inform the Clippers whether he plans to pick up the option on his contract.

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Wednesday that Williams hadn’t made his decision yet.

“If he can find a place where he can be a starter, we may want to do a long-term deal someplace,” Bartelstein said. “There’s a lot of things that we’ll be looking at.”

As for the draft, the Clippers hope to find a solid player.

“Hopefully, it’s somebody that we like,” Del Negro said. “We hope he has the skills that we need.”