Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Well, that Lamar Odom in Dallas thing didn’t work out, did it? Do you blame Odom? Why or why not?
Steve Aschburner: Don’t want to pile on a troubled soul, if that’s what Odom is. But of course it’s his fault. This is a big-boy league. You don’t get paid extravagant sums of money only to play for the team and in the city of your choice. And it wasn’t as if he got banished to a D-League outpost or never had switched teams. None of it might have happened if the mere suggestion of a trade hadn’t knocked Odom sideways – sorry, Lamar, trade rumors also are part of what professionals gets paid to endure. Just because he had a country-club existence in L.A., dumb TV show included, doesn’t mean he was untouchable by some of pro sports’ harsh, er, realities. The choice still is there, and always has been, to go play in a rec league if you don’t like or can’t handle the pressures.
Fran Blinebury:Should I blame Khloe or Kim or any of the other Kardashians? Should I blame it Rio or on the bossa nova or on the rain? Of course, I’ll blame Lamar Odom. He’s the only one you can blame. He pouted. He under-performed. He let his teammates down. He took a paycheck and took a hike. Come on now, who else is there to blame?
Scott Howard-Cooper: I don’t know if “blame” if the right word, but yes. Clearly something was going on beyond the court, whether a lengthy fog over splitting with the Lakers or a personal matter. He never seemed engaged, and that’s not a hard locker room to crack. Rick Carlisle was responsible for finding a way to make this work, but at some point, it’s not about his effectiveness. It’s about Odom’s.
Shaun Powell: Yeah, I blame Odom. It’s called “being a pro.” You get paid. You play. There’s no gray area. You don’t call the shots, or at least you’re not supposed to, anyway. But such is the sports world in which we live, the world we helped create, by the way. The Mavericks, by all accounts, treated Odom with respect but the guy never wanted to be in Dallas all along. Will the first person who knows what’s going on in Odom’s head, please shine some light?
John Schuhmann: Who else are you going to blame? I understand that he had a traumatic offseason, but the guy was getting paid $9 million to play basketball this year. And he obviously failed to bring a certain level of professionalism or dedication to his job. I do hope he can get his act together though, because he can help somebody next season if his mind is right.
Sekou Smith: There is no one else to blame but Odom. It’s not like the Lakers traded him to the Bobcats or Wizards (they did try trading him to the Hornets, only to have that deal squashed). They sent him to the reigning world champions, a team with the best owner in sports, one of the best coaches in the league, one of the greatest players in the league, with a stellar locker room culture and to a city that is head over heels in love with its NBA franchise. For Odom to take all of that and implode it because he longed for Los Angeles and all of the comforts he’d come to know there is simply unforgivable. He’ll move on and play elsewhere, but the stain of his episode stays on his books for good.