Lamar Odom, shown working against New York Knicks' Jared Jeffries,… (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)
Lamar Odom reportedly told Mark Cuban to "stop playing games" when the Dallas Mavericks owner questioned the player's commitment to the team during halftime of the Mavericks' game in Memphis on Saturday night.
That's really not the right way to respond to your boss in pretty much any situation, but especially not when you're the reigning sixth man of the year putting up career-low points while your team is fighting for a playoff spot.
And now Odom is no longer playing games with the Mavericks, or any other NBA team this season.
Cuban made his his first public comments Tuesday since Odom's release a day earlier, saying he confronted the former Laker in the locker room at halftime after another lackluster performance. Cuban said he asked Odom one question: "Are you in or are you out?"
"He said: 'Stop playing games,' " Cuban said. "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."
When asked if Odom really used those works, Cuban answered, "That's what he said."
And that, apparently, sealed Odom's fate, although it wasn't the first time Odom had behaved in such a manner, Cuban said. "But the first 17 times," he added, "I decided to try to help him and turn it into a positive.”
Not this time. Not after playing just four minutes Saturday night and averaging just 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 20.5 minutes this season. Not after arriving late to the previous night's game, after already earning a reputation for tardiness to team meetings and practices.
"You know, I think it was all cumulative," Cuban said.
Saturday's incident was just the final straw.
“It was just my initiative, just paying attention," Cuban said. "I was working with him, tried to get him back on the horse. When I failed, it was my job to recognize it, and deal with it.”
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