Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There was a lot of lip service about
competitive balance during the NBA lockout this past offseason. LeBron James
fleeing Cleveland for the sun and sand of South Beach and Carmelo Anthony
wrangling his way to New York upset more than a few "small-market" owners
around the league, so much so that they almost shut down the sport for the
So, maybe it should have been no surprise that antennas were raised when the
NBA-owned Hornets agreed to send Chris Paul to the mighty Lakers in a three-
way blockbuster that would have sent Lamar Odom to the Big Easy and Pau Gasol
In the end, however, the league declined to approve the trade for "basketball
reasons." after a number of owners reportedly complained and Paul ended up
across the hall with the Clippers.
The fallout from the failed deal was immense and Odom, for one, was hurt by
the proposal and requested a trade, eventually ending up in Dallas with the
reigning world champions for a 2012 first-round draft pick along with an $8.9
million trade exception, a deal that looked like grand larceny at the time.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Odom has always been one of the more
gifted players in all of basketball, the type of matchup nightmare that can
beat you in a host of ways thanks to a lethal combination of length and
He could take you from the inside or outside on the offensive end and torture
you with that length as a defender. Odom was also the rare 6-foot-10 player
that could handle the ball and beat you as a playmaker.
"How much talent can God bless one guy with?" Hall of Famer Karl Malone once
said about Odom. "Lamar Odom is one of the most talented guys. He can handle
the ball, he can shoot the three, great shot-blocker when he wants from the
weak side. How much disruption are you going to cause?"
All that said, part of the reason Odom fell out of favor in Hollywood was his
reality television show in which he co-stars with wife Khloe Kardashian. But
that was just the tip of the iceberg. In the offseason one of Odom's cousins
died after being shot and an SUV that he was a passenger in was involved in an
accident that killed a teenager on a bicycle.
His commitment to the game was being questioned by the Lakers and it turns out
that Mitch Kupchak and Company were spot on. Odom couldn't even make it
through one season in North Texas.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Odom and the Mavericks have worked out
an agreement that allows the two sides to divorce immediately, with the
struggling Odom leaving Big D for the remainder of the season with pay. The
Mavs, in turn, will not release him, list him as inactive for the rest of
2011-12 and retain his rights.
"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
"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 Mavericks expected Odom to help alleviate Tyson Chandler's departure in
free agency but the 13-year veteran's head was never in it and he struggled
mightily from the season's opening tip.
He was eventually given a four-game leave of absence to tend to his ill father
and sent down to the D-League when he returned, an almost unheard of move for
a player with Odom's resume and a sign that Dallas had already given up on
With just nine games left in the regular season, the Mavs, who are 31-26 and
seventh in the Western Conference, finally pulled the plug and felt the best
way to defend their title was to jettison Odom and his mental funk from the
And it was probably the prudent thing to do. Now Rick Carlisle and his players
will no longer have to answer any more questions about the underachieving
forward and the organization will not have to defend his often morose body
Odom, meanwhile, will return to Southern California, his wife and his reality
show -- things he never really wanted to leave.
The Sports Network