Mavs to de-activate Lamar Odom, but Odom got head start by de-activating himself during the offseason
In the truncated NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers did their best to make a “big splash” in the over-active trade market. They almost landed Chris Paul from New Orleans, but the NBA cut that deal down as being “unfair,” so the Lakers had to make amends with those players who they had just tried to ship out. One of those players was the notoriously sensitive Lamar Odom, who was cut deeply by the team trying to trade him without first letting him know. Even after the deal failed to happen and Odom seemed locked into another season with L.A., Odom moped around the team facility telling the media how cruel it all was. The Lakers eventually had enough of it and shipped Odom, a former 6th man of the year award winner, to the defending champion Dallas Mavericks for nothing more than an open roster spot that wouldn’t tell everyone how mean the team was. Turns out, the Lakers got the better of that trade.
After a frustrating season of career-low points and minutes for Lamar Odom, the Dallas Mavericks have agreed with the reserve forward to de-activate him without actually releasing him which will allow Odom to leave the team immediately in order to “regroup for next year.” From ESPN.com:
“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,” Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com.
“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.”
The relationship between Dallas fans and Odom has been steadily on the decline like Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff. When the deal first happened, the Mavs felt that Odom would be able to replace the production lost when Tyson Chandler went to New York. However, that never really happened and Odom’s role with the team got fuzzier until he was little more than a warm body to spell the Maverick’s bigs for a few minutes each game.
As Odom’s minutes fell, so did his production and energy level. He leaves the Mavs averaging just 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 20.5 minutes per game while shooting 35.2 percent from the field, all of which are career lows by far. All season, the Mavericks have put forth a positive outlook on Odom, saying he would find his groove with the team, then that he’d be a playoff “X-factor,” and that despite his dwindling contributions and rapidly disappearing interest in contributing, Odom was a major factor to this team’s success. I don’t know about that, but he is a major factor to this team’s undoing. Players and coaches have given up on him, as well, as the team only put Odom into Saturday’s loss to Memphis for a total of four minutes and everyone declined to answer any “Lamar questions.”
The ugly end to his time in Dallas caps a pretty terrible year for Odom. In July, he was forced to deal with the murder of his 24-year-old cousin who he was very close to, and then was involved in a car accident where the car he was riding in struck a motorcycle which hit and killed a pedestrian on the sidewalk. The tumultuous summer left Odom wondering if he should even play at all this year, but his inner circle convinced him to come back. Odom’s rough offseason left him out of shape for the start of the year as he didn’t do much of any basketball related work during the five month lockout. Add in the mental fatigue of almost walking away from the game and being thrown into a new environment without any real sense of his role with that team, and you’ve created a recipe for a disastrous season with the sensitive Odom.
So what does this mean for Odom? Well, it means he can get to the offseason early as he’s been excused by the team for the rest of the season. That will give him time to recollect his thoughts and try and return to the form he showed as a Laker. If he invests himself into it, and a team makes him feel special enough with lots of hugs and candy (not unlike your creepy uncle), then Odom may be able to come back next season close to the player he was just a year ago. But that team better be in a major media market, or Khloe is going to be pissed.