A lot of Mavericks fans were in the place Mark Cuban was a long time ago — they were done with Lamar Odom and wanted to get in his face long ago.
But one of the reasons that players consider Dallas a destination now is Cuban’s player-friendly ways. Odom had gone through a lot before the season — having a cousin murdered, having a car he was a passenger in run over and kill a 15-year-old boy in New York, almost being traded from the team where he felt comfortable (which led him to ask for a trade). Cuban wanted to give him a chance.
But after a listless first half in Memphis Saturday, Cuban confronted Odom and they got in an argument, which led to the decision by the two sides to part ways. Here are Cuban’s quotes, via the Associated Press.
“I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not. Is he in or is he out? I think he thought we were playing poker. I just didn’t get a commitment. And that was the end,” Cuban said. “This was a big game for us, and he wasn’t connecting to that. And if you’re not positive energy, you’re negative energy….
“Just his response to it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. … It didn’t work,” Cuban said…
“He didn’t want to play. He decided to go elsewhere or do something else. Now we regroup and go forward,” Cuban said. “We kept on hoping things would turn out right. It just got to the point where there weren’t enough games in the season to try to find out.”
Odom was never mentally right for this season. Whether he had stayed with the Lakers — where the players were familiar but the coach and system would have been a radical change — or was traded anywhere, this was going to be an off year for him. Maybe not as bad as it got in Dallas, but it would not have been good.
What is really going to anger Mavs fans? After a summer off, look for Odom to come back somewhere next year — Miami, Los Angeles, maybe somewhere else — with his head right and he’ll have a good season again.