DALLAS -- From Lamar Odom's vantage point, the Los Angeles Lakers did him a grave disservice during one of the lowest points in his career.
And when he was most vulnerable.
After Odom spent the past seven years with the Lakers and helping them win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, the team that he thought he would finish his career with attempted to trade him to the New Orleans Hornets in a deal that involved Chris Paul. Although Commissioner David Stern voided the trade, Odom felt insulted.
"That's what let me know that it was time for me to go, and your time has come when you have to change," Odom said. "I thought any other time they would at least tell me that there were rumors, or a trade might happen."
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What really upset Odom is that he said the Lakers knew he'd gone through a traumatic off-season that included the murder of his 24-year-old cousin, who was buried on July 13 in New York.
The day after his cousin's funeral, Odom was a passenger in a chauffeur-driven SUV in Queens, N.Y., that collided with a motorcycle. The motorcycle went airborne and hit a 15-year-old pedestrian, who died the following day of head injuries.
Those incidents put Odom in a funk and had him assessing his future. He said his wife, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian, had to talk him into playing this season.
After the Lakers-Hornets deal fell through, the situation led him to demand that the Lakers trade him.
"Having the summer that I had, the losses that I had, the things that I've seen, I thought it was just only proper business for the Lakers to tell me that they didn't want my services anymore," Odom said.
"With the losses that I had and the lockout, I didn't know if I was going to be mentally prepared to play."
On Dec. 10, the Lakers traded Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. And tonight at Staples Center, Odom and the Mavs play the Lakers in Los Angeles for the first time since the trade.
While Odom knows it's a big game for him, he also has some catching up to do with those who care the most about him.
"I miss my home, my friends, loved ones, my family, father-in-law, mother-in-law, my sisters, my brother, my best friend for all my life, I miss them," Odom said. "I'm anxious to go home and see my family, see my friends at the game, and my brothers that I used to play with.
"But you have to treat it like every other game. You can't get too emotional and too wound up, and you can't put too much into it, because it'll take too much out of you."
Guard Jason Kidd knows tonight will be a special and emotional time for Odom, who has struggled while averaging 6.8 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Mavs.
"It's hard because [the emotion] all comes out," Kidd said. "You've just got to take a deep breath and not so much cry.
"He might [cry], because there's been a lot of history there. Just take a deep breath and just try and relax as much as you can."
Forward Dirk Nowitzki believes Lakers fans will pay homage to Odom.
"He helped them get two rings and win a whole lot of games, so I'm sure he's going to get a standing ovation, and he deserves it," Nowitzki said. "He was there for a long time and really made a lot of great things happen there."
Odom expects an outpouring of love when he enters the game.
"I think so, because the trade happened so fast," he said. "I know when I probably check in, or get in the game, people are going to let me know how much they appreciated me."
Except for the 2003-04 season when he played for the Miami Heat, Odom played his entire career in Los Angeles before he joined the Mavs. The 6-foot-10 forward was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1999 and played there until 2003.
The Hollywood lifestyle has been ingrained in Odom.
"That's part of playing there," Odom said. "All the friends I made, connections I made -- it's Network City.
"So my whole adult life, LA has raised me."
Asked was it simply time for him to be involved with a slower lifestyle, Odom said: "Only God knows. Everything happens for a reason.
"Maybe it was time for me to slow down a little bit. But of course, LA will always be in my heart."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760