The Lakers traded Lamar Odom to the Mavericks before last season began, but after Odom had just finished his best all-around year in 12 NBA seasons.
Odom took home the Sixth Man of the Year trophy in 2011, and yet L.A. had no problem dealing him to a Western Conference rival in exchange for nothing more than salary cap space at the time, although the trade exception the Lakers received in the deal was used in helping them acquire Steve Nash.
It turns out that the Lakers knew what the Mavericks found out in Odom’s short time with them, which was the fact that Odom had mentally checked out from basketball after dealing with some personal and emotional issues before the lockout-shortened season began.
Things ended in Dallas with Odom and the team parting ways before the season ended, one which was tumultuous, to say the least. Now, with Odom set to face his former team for the first time on Wednesday, he’s not exactly feeling sentimentally about the matchup.
When asked after practice whether he had any emotions about playing Dallas, Odom said, “Naw.”
“It was a blur, man,” Odom replied. “I wasn’t there either, like mentally.”
“The people are nice,” Odom said of Dallas. “Great fans.
“Sometimes we make pit stops in some places. I remember the people and the city. Basketball just wasn’t there for me at that time.”
Odom said he even doesn’t have any hard feelings toward Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who called out Odom several times before sending the forward home. “I respect everybody over there,” Odom said.
Odom’s comments are perfect, because he has no reason to be upset with a Dallas organization that showed nothing but patience in dealing with him. He admits he wasn’t in a position mentally to play basketball last season, so slamming the Mavericks for the way things ended there simply wouldn’t make any sense.
It’s doubtful that Cuban or Rick Carlisle feel the same way about Odom, given the way things went down. But he’ll be nothing more than afterthought for the Mavericks on Wednesday when they head into Los Angeles to face the Clippers.