Lamar Odom and the Dallas Mavericks have parted ways, a mutual breakup after the all-star forward never found his groove with his new team.
Odom and the organization worked up a way that allows Lamar to be inactive the rest of the season without being formally released, according to ESPN.com. That way, the team can still trade him, and even with this lost season, Odom could be a valuable piece to a lot of teams.
Odom struggled to fit into any kind of meaningful role with the defending champion Mavericks, and it was pretty obvious to anyone who saw him play this season that his head and heart weren't in it after the Lakers traded him. Odom reportedly was still struggling emotionally after an SUV he was riding in was involved in a crash that killed a teenaged bicyclist last year, and he also considered taking a break from basketball after the death of his cousin, who also passed last year.
I remember the first time I saw Odom play while he was at the University of Rhode Island in the 1998-99 season. He had turned them into one of the surprise teams of the nation, and they were getting a lot of attention. URI ended up playing on ESPN and I was blown away by the sight of this 6'10" forward who was handling the ball on fast breaks and making unbelievable passes.
Odom was so polished and so smooth, it was almost impossible to believe. He could take his defenders down low, his shooting was suspect but decent, and the way he handled the ball and ran the offense made him look like a man amongst boys. That's why the Los Angeles Clippers picked him at #4 in the draft after his freshman season.
The problem with Lamar in his NBA career has been the up and down nature of his game, and never knowing what kind of effort he was going to put out each night. It's frustrating from a fan's point of view because he has the skills and tools to average a triple double if he would just put his mind to it.
Odom averaged career lows across the board this season, and has taken time away from the team to deal with a family illness.
Lamar has never been particularly good at separating his personal life from work, or hiding his disinterest when it shows up.
Odom is only 32-years-old, and he was named Sixth Man of the Year for the 2010-2011 season with the Lakers. It seems like he has a lot of basketball left in his body, now it just remains to be seen if he still has it in his heart.
Article by Eric Gray