Lamar Odom to skip D-League game, play for Mavs Saturday

8 Comments

That whole “Lamar Odom is going to play a game in the D-League to get his legs back before returning to the Mavericks” thing?

Forget about it.

He is coming straight to the Mavericks and will play Saturday when Dallas tries to stop its four-game losing streak when they take on the Jazz (who just beat the Heat Friday), reports Marc Stein at ESPNDallas.com.

He was just hours away from reporting to the D-League’s Texas Legends in nearby Frisco for the morning shootaround and was to play in their game tonight to build up stamina before returning to the Mavs for their road game Monday at Oklahoma City. Odom has not played in a game since Feb. 20.

But after Dallas lost for a fifth time in six games Friday night to the New Orleans Hornets, the plans changed because the Mavs need him now, a source said.

Getting him in the lineup is one thing, getting the focused and intense Lamar Odom is another. He has long been a guy who does not compartmentalize his personal and basketball lives well — what happens to him off the court impacts him on it more than most players. He was not happy when he found out he was going to be traded, he has had a sick father, and all season he has seemed burned out and disinterested.

Mavericks’ fans are finding out what Lakers, Heat and Clippers fans found out before them — just a worse version of it. Odom always had these kind of off games, he just punctuated them with great games and good quarters. This season there has been far less of the good sides, just the disinterested Odom who floats through games.

Which is why coach Rick Carlisle said his patience is wearing thin. He wants Odom to show up and play hard every night. Frankly he’s not going to get that, but if he can get the Odom who has a great game every third game it would help. Right now, the Mavericks need that versatile, matchup nightmare Odom.