Odom finally ends his L.A. drama

Updated: July 31, 2009, 6:16 PM ET
By John Hollinger |
Lamar OdomJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesLamar Odom's return to the Lakers makes the defending champions the team to beat ... again.

From New Orleans all the way to Portland, basketball fans in the Western Conference are feeling a whole lot less optimistic than they were just 24 hours ago.

Except the ones in L.A., that is. They're breathing a huge sigh of relief. After a monthlong drama in which Lamar Odom's seemingly certain return to the world champions somehow became a 50-50 proposition, he relented and agreed to rejoin the team Thursday on a four-year deal worth as much as $33 million.