Sports

Odom didn't fit with Mavericks

DALLAS -- During his tumultuous tenure with the Dallas Mavericks, it seemed as if Lamar Odom never really fit in with the organization.

It was as if his body was here, but his mind was somewhere else. Now Odom's mind and body can be in the same place.

By mutual agreement with Odom, the Mavericks parted ways with their enigmatic forward on Monday, ending one of the more bizarre chapters in Mavericks history. It also put a swift end to one of the team's constant distractions -- which Odom was going to appear on a game-by-game basis -- as the Mavericks finally got fed up with a player who is equipped with a lot of talent but was terribly inconsistent this season.

"I think it's in the best interest of both parties to part ways for the rest of the year," general manager Donnie Nelson said. "He has been placed on the inactive list and will not be with the team for the rest of the year.

"I know it's been a difficult and frustrating year for our fans, for Lamar and for ourselves. We just think it's in the best interest of everyone to do this at this time."

The Mavericks were giddy after they acquired Odom in a Dec. 11 trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2012 first-round draft pick and an $8.9 million trade exception they got in a sign-and-trade deal with the New York Knicks involving Tyson Chandler. It seemed a good deal, especially after Odom averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds last season and shot career highs of 53 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from 3-point range.

But by the time Odom got to Dallas -- for whatever reasons -- his mind was fragmented and his game had taken a turn for the worse.

In 50 games for the Mavericks this season, Odom averaged career lows of 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds, and shot a career-low 35.2 percent from the field and 25.2 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Odom's roller coaster season included him taking a personal leave of absence for four games in midseason to supposedly tend to his ailing father and not playing at all because of a coach's decision in another game.

The final straw occurred Saturday in Memphis when Odom played just the final 4 minutes, 15 seconds of the first period and produced no points, one rebound, and a wild shot that apparently irked coach Rick Carlisle, who wouldn't go into details on why he is no longer coaching Odom.

"I'm not going to comment on it any further," Carlisle said. "Donnie just went through the whole thing.

"It's just time to turn the page."

Nelson said Odom was dealing with some personal demons that he couldn't shake. Some of it apparently stems from last summer when Odom's cousin was killed.

Then, shortly after his cousin's funeral, Odom and his wife were passengers in a chauffeur-driven SUV, and the vehicle collided with a motorcycle, which in turn landed on a teenage pedestrian, who later died from the accident.

Trying to deal with the deaths, Odom contemplated sitting out this season. But his wife, reality TV actress Khloe Kardashian, talked him out of it.

"He's dealt with a lot of personal issues and at this point we need to be able to count on some folks," Nelson said. "It's never easy to do these things, and we just need to move on."

Although Odom officially will spend the rest of the season on the Mavericks' inactive list, he will not wear a Mavericks uniform again. Meanwhile, the players who didn't dodge the media crush Monday paid homage to Odom during his 120-day stay with the Mavericks.

"I like Lamar personally," said center Brendan Haywood, whose locker at American Airlines Center was next to Odom's. "He was never really a distraction.

"We all wish him the best."

Guard Jason Terry took a page from Carlisle and acknowledged that it's time to move on from the Lamar Odom era in Dallas.

"He's not here anymore," Terry said. "We won't know how much we miss him until the season's over, I guess."

So why did it take the Mavericks so long to make a move that was obvious to bystanders?

"Your hope is that at some point, the light goes on," Nelson said. "But, look, we are in crunch time.

"Every game counts. We need to be able to focus and move forward, and that's what we're doing."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments