In news this morning, Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom has agreed to a split with the team after recent struggles have impacted the once great Lakers utility and seen him fall from his status as 6th man of the year, which now seems like a long distant memory. It isn’t known yet where Odom will end up, but everyone’s hope is that this does not spell the end for a fallen champion.
Rising as a Laker to become the reining 6th Man Of The Year, Odom was considered to be one of the league’s best players. A championship winner and fan favorite, he was undoubtedly looking forward to another successful year with the Los Angeles Lakers during the lockout. Odom had a life in LA, enjoying a successful stint with the city’s championship team, and a good marriage to Khloe Kardshian, but after the league vetoed a trade which would involve him being moved to the lowly New Orleans Hornets in exchange for star guard Chris Paul, Odom evidently felt betrayed by the team he had given everything to. Early reports suggested Odom requested a move to Dallas after he made it known to Lakers manager Mitch Kupchak that he had been unfairly treated.
Much to fans dismay and confusion, it was announced that Lamar Odom would start the 2011/2012 season as a Maverick, with the Lakers receiving a 1st round draft pick and an $8.2M trade exception in exchange. Small change in light of what the team was giving up. An already poorly handled situation by the Lakers was made worse by shipping Odom out without so much as a thank you. It was obvious that all Odom needed was a little TLC, something to say “we want you here”, but instead the team took a cash option and shipped him to the Mavericks.
As it turns out, Lamar Odom has had little to no impact in Dallas. Some might even say this is his worst season in the NBA to date averaging only 34.7% from the field, 6.6 points and 4.2 rebound per game. After a difficult off season, he seems a shadow of the player he was in Los Angeles. It was evident Odom was not at home at the Mavericks. A series of tragic accidents during the lockout meant Odom had to spend a lot of time dealing with his problems and soul searching. Only days after Odom’s 24-year old cousin was shot and killed, he was also involved in an accident which saw the SUV he was traveling in hit and kill a young cyclist. These horrific incidents no doubt hit Lamar hard, and have evidently impacted his season in the NBA.
This morning, Lamar Odom and the Dallas Mavericks parted ways. Odom spoke to ESPN’s Marc Stein:
“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team, I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.”
It is likely Odom will remain on the Mavericks list for the remainder of the season, however he will be listed as “Inactive”. The situation remains that the Mavericks could keep him there until the point where they could trade him to another team in conjunction with the draft. Any team that does have Odom on their roster come June 29th would automatically be required to buy him out for $2.4M or accept full responsibility for the $8.9M Odom is entitled to for the 2012/2013 season.
There have been rumors surrounding Kobe Bryant attempting to get Odom back to the Lakers and should management be open to re-buying his contract, it definitely is not out of the question for them. Either way, all we can hope is that Odom is able to finish his career at a team he loves and feels a comfortability with. After all, he deserves nothing less. It would be a tragedy to see such a wonderful player fade away to become nothing more than a memory of a former NBA Champion and Sixth Man Of The Year, turned a fallen star, whisked away into nothingness by the harsh dusts of Texas.