HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – That standing ovation Lamar Odom received when he made his return to Staples Center with the Mavericks is the last one he’ll receive in the league this season.
Odom and the Mavericks have parted ways just weeks before the start of the playoffs, ending a season-long odyssey for both the reigning world champions and Odom, whose last meaningful NBA minutes were played in a Lakers uniform last season when the Mavericks swept them out of the playoffs.
Odom is done for the season with the Mavericks or anyone else. He is ineligible to participate in the playoffs with another team, since he wasn’t waived before the March 23 deadline, per ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released.
“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,” Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.”
Sources said Monday that Odom’s departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13.
Even if either side had pushed for a formal release, there is little upside to taking that step now with Odom ineligible to play in the playoffs with another team because he wasn’t waived before the March 23 deadline. One source close to the 32-year-old told ESPN.com that the decision sets Odom up to “clear his head and start getting ready for next season” after his career-low numbers and minutes continued to dip as the season wore on.
You had to know this season wouldn’t end well for Odom when he demanded the Lakers trade him, an irrational reaction to the reality that he wasn’t going to be a Laker for the rest of his career after learning that they were trying to move him during training camp so they could acquire Chris Paul.
The Mavericks (owner Mark Cuban and coach Rick Carlisle, specifically) deserve credit for doing any and everything in their power to make Odom feel welcome. But the fact is, he never wanted to leave Los Angeles and was never going to be fully committed to the change.
It’s better to end it this way than to keep on going in the same dysfunctional manner they had been for weeks.