Heading into this shortened NBA season, nobody could understand why the Los Angeles Lakers gave away Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for what essentially amounted to scraps.
At the time of the trade, Odom was owed $8.9 million this season and $8.2 million next season (of which less than three million was guaranteed). And even though he was 32 and brought a lot of reality TV distractions with him, Odom was the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, as well as a pretty important cog in the Lakers’ machine.
Once the season began and Odom suited up for the Mavs, it didn’t take long for everyone to realize why L.A. had done what it had done.
On Monday, ESPN’s Marc Stein broke the news that Odom and the Mavs had decided to part ways. He’ll stay on the roster until the end of the season so that the defending champs can still have the option of trading him, but he’ll reportedly be listed as inactive until that time comes.
“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."
A lot of people will say that you can’t use Odom’s time in Dallas as justification for the Lakers trading him. That, somehow, the move from L.A. is what shook the emotional big man to his very core, and that the move, specifically, is what caused him to have so much trouble this season. Of course, these pretend experts on mood disorders saying that doesn’t make it true.
The reality of the situation is that Odom has always been a really unique player. Despite that, however, very early on the Lakers made a conscious decision that he would never be better than he was last year. His stock would never be higher. That’s why they tried to trade him for Chris Paul in that infamous vetoed transaction before the season even started, and that’s why they ultimately peddled him for a trade exception when it was all said and done.
L.A. management, regardless of how you feel about it, figured that between all the reality TV distractions, Odom’s inconsistent tendencies, and the money owed to him, the best move would be shipping Mr. Kardashian off to whoever would have him. Ultimately, after he posted seven points, four rebounds and two assists per game in 50 outings this year, the Lakers were vindicated.
Nobody will dispute that during his time in L.A. Odom was as beloved a figure as we had in local hoops. Everything starting with his love for candy and ending with his trademark selflessness on the court endeared him to fans. But somewhere between marrying the funny Kardashian sister and his prominent role on his new reality show, Odom’s priorities shifted a bit. And when those priorities shifted, the Lakers understandably figured they would be better off moving him than paying him.
In the end, they were right.