Lamar Odom Leaves Dallas Mavericks
When dissecting this entire season for Odom, the offseason speaks wonders when it comes to his inner motivation.
Lamar loved Los Angeles and unfortunately never moved on from the feelings he suffered when his former team, the Lakers, proposed to trade him and Pau Gasol to New Orleans for Chris Paul.
This anger and despair affected the performance of Odom, who was just coming off of a season in which he won Sixth Man of the Year.
At first glance, the trade of Odom and his $11 million trade exception to Dallas for a draft pick seemed idiotic. The man had just come off his best season as a team player who came off the bench and averaged 14 points and eight rebounds per game.
Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but let's examine the implications of this trade from the perspective of both Los Angeles and Dallas.
The writing was on the wall for Odom and Dallas.
He only started four games and was averaging a career low in points and rebounds. Odom played uninspired basketball for much of the season and Dallas was beginning to be frustrated with his performance.
The departure leaves the defending champions in a better state, as well. Odom’s production this season had reached a career low and the amount of minutes that he was providing did not help the team. Although Odom’s threat to shoot threes and dribble the basketball amazingly well for a 6-foot-10-inch man will be lost, the distraction he was becoming overwhelmed and reached a boiling point in Dallas. Coach Rick Carlisle became so fed up with the Odom controversy that he even refused to speak to the media on Sunday night after Dallas lost to Memphis.
As for the Lakers, they received that $11 million trade exception from Dallas, and a first round draft pick next season. This can benefit the Lakers in one of two ways. They can use that cap space to either repay Andrew Bynum, or sign a free agent center like Dwight Howard.
Kobe Bryant, who questioned GM Mitch Kupchak’s decision to trade Odom, was his main defender. Kobe’s anger toward the team can be solved simply. The Lakers have been aggressive this season in replacing Odom’s production, by acquiring Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sessions fills the offensive hole that was left with Odom's departure. Although the Lakers have lost depth and size from their bench, the nucleus of this team is solid with Kobe, Gasol and the emerging but also childish Bynum.
Odom is now inactive for the rest of the season and will have the freedom to pursue other teams through free agency next year. The apologetic Lamar said he wishes the best for Dallas championship run this postseason, but leaves Dallas as the villain who complained too much and never accepted his trade.
The Lakers wanted to save money and release the troubled Odom; maybe he will now refocus and prepare for the 2012-13 season. Both the Lakers and Mavericks are presently in the playoffs and it should be interesting to see how these two teams will fair in the postseason without the presence of Lamar Odom.
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