Lamar Odom, sandwiched between Houston's Luis Scola and Chandler… (Steve Pfost / Dallas Morning…)
Lamar Odom is done playing for the Dallas Mavericks. Will any other NBA team take a chance on the enigmatic 6-foot-10 forward who is less than a year removed from winning the league's sixth man of the year award? Or perhaps the better question is, should someone give him another shot?
Odom was known for his inconsistency during his seven seasons with the Lakers. But, by definition, that means there were good and bad times on the court for Odom in L.A. And particularly in the last few years, there seemed to be more good than bad, with Odom appearing to pull it all together last season by being named the league's best player off the bench.
But the word "inconsistent" does not apply to Odom's 50-game stint in Dallas. He was just plain bad, averaging career lows in points (6.6), rebounds (4.2) and minutes (20.5). It has been suggested he never got over an off-season of turmoil, which included the death of his 24-year-old cousin, being a surviving passenger in a fatal traffic accident, nearly being traded by the Lakers for Chris Paul, and ultimately being dealt to the Mavericks for a 2012 first-round draft pick and an $8.9-million trade exception.
Some also suggest that Odom's reality TV exploits with wife Khloe Kardashian may be a distraction as well.
Odom will spend the rest of the season on the inactive list and will not play again for the Mavericks. He has one year left on his contract, so any team that has him on its roster June 29 must either buy him out for $2.4 million or be responsible for the $8.2 million he is due next season.
That's a lot of money for a guy who comes with a lot of baggage. But, then again, he also comes with two NBA championship rings.
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether another NBA team should take a chance on Odom next season. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
[Updated at 12:32 p.m.:
Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
The Clippers. Lamar Odom could return to his beloved Los Angeles and reprise his role as a productive sixth man at Staples Center, albeit with Clipper Darrell cheering him on instead of Jack Nicholson.
The only issue would be the possibility that being so close to the Lakers would put the overly sensitive Odom back in mope mode, but precautions could be taken: 1) Cover up all the Lakers banners at Staples Center each time he enters the building. 2) Don’t hold back-to-back games with the Lakers to erase any chance of Odom running into Kobe Bryant or Andrew Bynum in the hallways. 3) Conveniently forget to tell Odom that the Lakers and Clippers play each other four times so he doesn’t show up for those games. 4) Remind Odom he’s playing for Donald Sterling, not Jerry Buss.
Well, on second thought, maybe that last one’s not such a good idea.
K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune
How about the Lakers? It's still hard to believe Lamar Odom went from being one of the most popular players in one locker room to one of the most reviled in another. Especially because the Dallas Mavericks long have had the reputation of being a place where players love to be because of the lavish and accommodating ways of Mark Cuban.
Odom long has had a reputation as mercurial, but something about the power structure of the Lakers' locker room -- ruled by Kobe Bryant -- made it work. He's still one of the most versatile players in the league and a matchup nightmare. If he gets his head together and finds the right team, he surely can contribute.
Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun Sentinel
Who says you can’t go home again?
That’s exactly what Lamar Odom should do. Go back to the Los Angeles Lakers and give it one more shot. Yes, there was an ugly breakup when the Lakers tried to ship Odom to New Orleans before the season. But professional basketball is a business. These things happen and players sometimes have to simply just get over it.
Odom never wanted to play in Dallas, or anywhere else for that matter. He was a Laker. Let him be a Laker again.
A return to Los Angeles would reunite Odom with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. It should suit him well, with him being a reality television star and all.
And even if Odom doesn’t want to play, he can always just go back as the team ball boy, as one of his former teammates already suggested.
Shannon J. Owens, Orlando Sentinel
The Los Angeles Lakers should give Lamar Odom another chance. Yes, I know. Been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.
In my version of a Hollywood ending, the Lakers would give Odom another run after his first unceremonious departure, and I’m not talking about the trade to the Dallas Mavericks. We consistently assassinate players’ character when they aren’t loyal, but look the other way when organizations ruthlessly conduct business.
The Lakers botched up the trade for Chris Paul last year and slighted the feelings of Odom and Pau Gasol. Gasol obviously handled the situation better, but Odom has always been a sensitive soul and a highly effective player for Los Angeles.
La-La Land is the best fit for the drama kings, the brash, the odd and, yes, the Metta World Peace. Schmooze Odom’s ego, give him a nice one-year contract and let him ride out into that light, er, camera lights.]