In case you don’t know what the D-League is, it’s basically the minor league of the NBA. It’s where you go if you are not good enough to make the team, but not quite ready for rec ball at the local YMCA. It’s also a place Lamar Odom never in his worst nightmares thought he’d be spending part of his 2011-2012 season, but that’s exactly where the Mavs were set to send Odom this week.
Lamar came to the Mavs this season in a trade with the Lakers. The deal was the Mavs get Odom and the Lakers’ get to not have to pay him his $8.9 million dollar a year contract. At the time it looked like a great deal for the Mavs to grab one of the NBA’s best 6 men for free. Odom had to see the trade coming after a near trade deal between LA and New Orleans almost came to fruition earlier last year. All reports indicate Lamar still appeared surprised and took it hard.
Lamar is largely regarded as being very sensitive to the business aspect of the NBA and doesn’t deal with some of the harsh realities well. Apparently, his move to Dallas is one of these things. Odom’s play with Dallas has been uninspired to say the least. He has always been regarded as an underperformer. His 6 foot 10 inch frame combined with his amazing athletic ability make him a prototype of what an NBA 4 man should be. Plus, he’s gifted with the skills of a 2 or 3 man, including a descent outside shot and a solid handle.
Dallas was betting they could plug him into their system and watch him blossom into the All-Star everyone always thought he could be. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened. His career numbers of 14 ppg, 8.7 rpg, and 4 apg, are down to a pathetic 7 ppg, 4 rpg, and 1 apg. It’s tough to rationalize paying almost $9 million bucks a year for numbers like these and Dallas owner Mark Cuban is clearly not impressed.
Lamar Odom narrowly escaped his D-league premiere as the Mavs have brought him back up with the team at the last second. The questions is whether this slap in the face will wake Odom up and turn him into the player the Mavs thought they acquired or send him further down his rabbit hole. The fact that Odom’s emotional state is in question due to a loss in his family and subsequent time away from the team only makes matters more tenuous. Odom better turn things around before the year is up or he’ll likely be hunting for another home this time next year.