Lamar Odom will not play again for Dallas Mavericks
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks and Lamar Odom are done with each other.
The NBA's reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the defending NBA champions who are trying to make sure they get back to the playoffs made it clear Monday that the partnership is over after an underwhelming 50-game stint.
"We've got to be able to look down that bench and count on folks to be consistent," general manager Donnie Nelson said. "Unfortunately with him in his state right now, he's just not capable of doing that. I say that with his best interest in mind. He's going through a very, very tough personal time. We certainly understand that. But we're in the thick of it in the West and we've got to win games."
Odom will be on the inactive list and not play again for the Mavericks, who were seventh in the Western Conference standings with nine games left in the regular season.
Even when wife and reality TV co-star Khloe Kardashian was in the stands near the Mavericks bench, Odom never seemed happy or comfortable in Dallas. His averages of 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 20.5 minutes were career lows, and he was booed by the home crowd as the sluggish performances multiplied.
Odom agreed with Nelson that it was a mutual decision for him to step away from the team.
"I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us," Odom told ESPN.com. "But I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."
Odom was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to Dallas in a deal just before the lockout-shortened season.
The Lakers seemed compelled to move the 6-foot-10 forward after trying to send him to New Orleans in a Chris Paul deal that was nixed by the league. For the Mavericks, it was considered a low-risk move to use the trade exception from a deal that sent Tyson Chandler to the New York Knicks.
The ending in Dallas came almost as abruptly.
"These things never come at the best of times, so we felt with the playoff push coming up it was probably in everyone's best interest," Nelson said. "Look, it's been a frustrating situation. Lamar hasn't performed like he wants to perform, is capable of performing. ... We just need to move on."
Nelson said the decision wasn't made sooner because there was hope at some point "the light goes on" for Odom. But that never happened, even after being away from the team for four games around the All-Star break for personal reasons.
Asked if the Mavs felted cheated by Odom, Nelson insisted they didn't "because the player that he was last year, there's reasons for that not happening this year, some of which none of us will know."
During the lockout last summer, Odom's 24-year-old cousin was murdered. Days after that, Odom was involved in a fatal car accident that killed a teen pedestrian after the car he was riding in as a passenger collided with a motorcycle.
Odom played only four minutes in a 94-89 loss at Memphis on Saturday night, his last game with Dallas. Asked afterward about the situation, Odom simply shrugged his shoulders. Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, who defended Odom all season, simply said "I'm done talking about that," after the Memphis game.
Nowitzki and Jason Kidd exited practice Monday through a side door without talking to reporters.
"It's time to turn the page," said coach Rick Carlisle, who had grown weary of the constant questions about Odom. "I'm not going to comment on it any further."
Jason Terry said the team's main focus is trying to get into the playoffs, starting with Tuesday night's game at home against Sacramento. He had little to say about Odom.
"It's always tough to adjust to a new situation. And for whatever reason it didn't work out for him," Terry said. "We wish him the best. He's a great dude."
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who didn't comment Monday, hoped Odom could fill a void after the team decided against re-signing Chandler, considered a key piece of the championship team because of his leadership skills and strong defensive presence.
The decision on Chandler was widely viewed as something that would give the Mavericks flexibility to pursue free agents this summer -- notably Dwight Howard and Deron Williams -- but Cuban maintained the addition of Odom's ability to shoot, pass and defend gave the Mavs a strong chance to defend their crown.
Odom still has a year left on his four-year contract. Any team that has the 13-year veteran on its roster on June 29 must give him a $2.4 million buyout or be responsible for the full $8.2 million he would be due in 2012-13.
Without Odom, the Mavericks lose one of their primary backups for Nowitzki.
"We'll adjust. We've got other guys," Carlisle said. "I really feel we have other guys that are ready to step up, so that's what we'll do."
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