The Knicks inked the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner to a non-guaranteed contract back in April, giving the 34-year-old Odom another shot at playing in the league after he missed all of last season amid rumors of ongoing drug abuse.
“We know he’s a really good basketball player,” Jackson told ESPN. “If he wants to put himself back together in a basketball life, he’s got a chance to do this by having a whole summer to work at it and get himself back in basketball condition so he can play. He’s told me that’s what he wanted to do.”
Since taking over as president of basketball operations for the Knicks, the 68-year-old Jackson has shown a propensity for surrounding himself with those with whom he has a previous relationship. His initial top candidate to take over as coach of the team was Steve Kerr, who he coached several seasons in Chicago and won three titles.
With Kerr now in Golden State, Jackson seems to have set his sights on Derek Fisher, another of his disciples from his days in L.A. where Odom was also a part of the mix.
In all, Odom, who is also in the midst of divorcing his reality TV wife Khloe Kardashian, has played for four NBA teams, averaging 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. His best season came with Miami in 2003-04 when he averaged 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a steal per game.
Odom last played in the NBA with the Clippers in 2012-13, averaging just four points, six rebounds and two assists.
Jackson added Odom is now in L.A. working out and undergoing physical therapy to strengthen his back. Odom briefly played in Spain this season before a bad back ended his season. He is expected to begin working out at the Knicks facility by the end of the month.