Sports

Mavs, Odom agree to part

Lamar Odom's tumultuous career with the Dallas Mavericks has come to a premature and surprising end.

The Mavs and Odom mutually agreed this morning to part ways after it became very clear that the erstwhile forward wasn't able to fit in with the defending NBA champions.

"It's about two or three months late,'' one NBA source said. “It makes no sense [to do it] now.''

The final nail in Odom's coffin came this past Saturday when he only played the final 4:15 of the Mavs' 94-89 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

During that time, Odom contributed no points and one rebound, and threw up a wild shot that had no chance of going in and irked coach Rick Carlisle.

After the game, when asked about Odom, Carlisle said: “Listen. No Lamar questions tonight.''

Later that night when he was asked about Odom, forward Dirk Nowitzki said: “I'm done talking about that.''

Nowitzki then ended his interview and walked away.

Odom's departure puts an end to a rather strange chapter in the Mavs' illustrious history. Acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 10 for an $8.9 million trade exception - and in what the Mavs thought was a steal of a deal - Odom was so out of shape early on that Carlisle had to put him in his personal boot camp.

Then, after a meeting with the Mavs' top brass on Feb. 21, the next day Odom subsequently told management that he had to fly to Los Angeles to tend to his ill father. But when Odom's father told TMZ - two days later - that he only had a stomach virus and that he was fine, it drew suspicion among the Mavs.

Especially since Odom didn't return to the team until a Mar. 3 game against Utah, after missing four games.

For whatever reasons, it wasn't as if Odom was a difference-maker for the Mavs. Following one of his best seasons ever - Odom became the first Laker to win the NBA's Sixth Man Award last year - Odom averaged career-lows of 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting a career-low 35.2 percent from the field in 50 games for the Mavs this season.

While Odom's career was going in a tailspin, he also was busy filming a reality TV show with his wife, Khloe Kardashian. Many members of the TV show's film crew spent an inordinate amount of time in the Mavs' locker room before and after games, much to the chagrin of some players.

For obvious reasons, those players wouldn't publicly reveal their displeasure with the camera crews' appearances in the locker room. But privately those players wondered why Mavs management would allow this circus to go on, particularly for a player whose production on the court had fallen way off.

Indeed, it was quite obvious this Odom-Mavs marriage wasn't going to work, because his game was so up and down. And mostly, it was so down that about three weeks ago, Mavs fans started booing Odom whenever he made a mistake, which is an embarrassing proposition for a player.

For the duration of this season, the Mavs plan to list Odom as inactive. By doing so, that will keep open their options of trading him this summer.

However, whatever team has Odom on their roster by June 29, they have to buy out his contract by that date for $2.4 million or be on the hook for the $8.2 million he's slated to make next season.

Still, to get rid of Odom with just nine games remaining brings up all sorts of red flags. Especially with the Mavs (31-26) fighting for their lives just to make the playoffs.

“Wow,'' one source said. “That's so stupid to me to do this now.''

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

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