MINNEAPOLIS -- Lamar Odom is going through the Dallas Mavericks' version of a boot camp. And, no, this isn't some sort of reality TV show.
For Odom, the cold reality is he's just not playing well, and the Mavs have to do something drastic to alter what has been a dreadful start for the winner of last year's NBA Sixth Man Award.
Acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 10, Odom is just 4 of 30 from the field, 1 of 12 from 3-point range, 8 of 12 from the free-throw line and has 17 rebounds, 16 points, 10 fouls, three assists and two steals in the first four games this season.
In essence, the move from the Lakers to the Mavs has been a disaster thus far for one of the game's best reserve players. Hence, the boot camp.
"We ran the [heck] out of him [(Friday] morning," coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is like a two-a-day [practice] for him. We're going to be at it early [today] with him, and he's going to get there. We've begun our action plan in earnest for the last three or four days."
That plan was necessary because Odom himself admitted he's not exactly in tip-top shape and that he needs more energy.
"I'm not in the auditioning stages of my career -- that part is over," Odom said. "I'll go out and keep trucking, working hard, and when my legs come under me you'll see a different player.
"You've got to let the game come to you. Our life is based on what have you done for me.''
The Mavs, who are paying Odom $8.9 million this season, don't have time to wait for him to get his legs under him on his own. So, Carlisle and his training staff are helping accelerate the process.
"There's an action plan that's in place, and he's working his [butt] off," Carlisle said. "He's got a ways to go, but he's a willing worker."
Thus far, Odom's body language is saying something is amiss. Odom says his conditioning is "slowly but surely'' returning.
"The game humbled me a little bit and the atmosphere humbled me a little bit, and then right when it's my time, then I will attack," Odom said.
The Mavs (1-3), who play the Timberwolves tonight in Minnesota, can't play Odom heavy minutes if he's not producing
"We can't unconditionally play him,'' Carlisle said. "That will hurt our team.
"Now, if he's trending in the right way and doing the kind of things that we think, that we know he's going to be able to do, [heck] yeah we can [play him major minutes]."
Whenever Odom does right himself, the Mavs expect a huge shot in the arm on both ends of the court.
"Lamar Odom is a big key to the success of this team this season,'' guard Jason Terry said. "And I believe once he gets right, then we're going to be tough to beat."
7-foot Chinese center Yi to join Mavericks
Chinese star Yi Jianlian has agreed to a one-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks. The 7-foot, 250-pound center will report to the Texas Legends of the D-League, where he will work on conditioning and his game with Legends coach Del Harris.
Once Yi is deemed prepared to make the move to the NBA, the Mavs will call him up.
The Milwaukee Bucks used the sixth pick of the 2007 NBA Draft to select Yi. In 242 career games with the Bucks, New Jersey and Washington, Yi averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24.1 minutes, and shot 40.5 percent from the field.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760