Sports

Mavericks focus on moving on after Lamar Odom

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki, the face of the Dallas Mavericks, believes it's high time that the organization sweeps the Lamar Odom experiment under the rug and turn the page on a new chapter in the team's history.

"There's nothing to say," Nowitzki said. "It's over. I thought as an organization we had to make that move to get him here, but things didn't work out the way we wanted it to."

After owner Mark Cuban grew weary of Odom's uninspired play, the Mavericks and Odom on Monday reached a mutual agreement to part ways. That announcement came after a heated exchange between Cuban and Odom at halftime of Saturday's 94-89 loss in Memphis.

Cuban didn't like Odom's body language and lack of emotions, so he confronted him about it. At the time, the Mavericks had chopped a 26-6 deficit to 50-39 at intermission, and everyone was enthused about it -- except Odom.

While the players were delighted they were back in the game, Cuban said Odom was stoic and acting as though he could take or leave the mini-comeback

Cuban said he'd seen that spaced-out look from Odom about 17 times, and this time he decided to aggressively get in his face and demand some answers.

"Are you in or are you out?" Cuban said he asked Odom. "He said, 'Stop playing games.'

"I said, 'I guess you're out.' If he doesn't want to play poker, we won't play poker. That's what I said."

At this point in the season with playoff positions and millions of dollars at stake, Cuban no longer wanted to wrestle with a player who just didn't seem as though he wanted to be in Dallas.

"It's not that he can't play," Cuban said. "He's just got to choose to. This was a game where we've gotten back in the game, and guys were fired up in the locker room. And [Odom] was emotionless, and that kind of was my trigger."

The fact that Odom was frequently late for team functions didn't sit well with Cuban, either, especially because Odom was paying $7,500 a month to stay at a condominium at the W Hotel -- the lease runs through August -- which is about a two-minute walk to American Airlines Center.

None of that matters now to Nowitzki, since Odom will spend the rest of the season on the Mavericks' inactive list, and they will attempt to trade him in the off-season.

"I'm not going to sit here and bash one of my ex-teammates," Nowitzki said. "It is what it is. It didn't work out the way we all hoped. Him too, I'm sure. And both sides moved on."

It's a sentiment shared by guard Jason Terry.

"We wish [Odom] luck in his future endeavors," Terry said. "But as far as the Dallas Mavericks, we are a team that's vying for playoff position and we're ready to go forward."

The Mavericks are 1-7 without Odom after defeating the Sacramento Kings 110-100 on Tuesday.

The defending NBA champions are 32-26 and seeded sixth in the Western Conference playoff race, with seventh-place Houston (32-26) eighth-place Denver (32-26), ninth-place Utah (31-28) and 10th-place Phoenix (30-28) on their heels.

The Mavericks will try to improve their playoffs chances when they open a four-games-in-five-days road trip at 9:30 tonight at Golden State. The journey continues Friday in Portland, Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles against the Lakers, and concludes Monday in Utah.

"We've got about eight games left now to make a playoff push here, get some confidence going, get some momentum going and then we'll go from there," Nowitzki said. "The situation [with Odom] is over and there's not much to comment anymore."

Did Nowitzki notice a different vibe about the Mavericks in their victory over the Kings that could jump-start what had been a stagnant offense?

"It's early, it's one game," Nowitzki said. "It still wasn't perfect out there, and we made a lot of mistakes.

"We've all got to play hard, that's basically what it comes down to. If we compete out there -- especially on the defensive end -- rotate for each other, rebound, I like our chances most nights."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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