LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Lamar Odom #7 of the Dallas Mavericks is hugged by Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers as Odom enters the game at Staples Center on January 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
There's no point in holding Odom's failures as a Maverick against him personally, but it's time to turn the page with the stretch run of the season ahead.
We'll never know what exactly happened to the former Sixth Man of the Year this season.
Mostly, Odom was out of shape, and this was never going to be a season where being out of shape was going to work. Heck, half the Mavs still look out of shape. The fine line between playing yourself into shape and playing yourself into the grave has, this season, been crossed. That's probably the most times I've ever used the word "shape" in a column.
So Lamar was tortured. He had reasons, and I'm not going to nail him to the wall for those. He should have taken the year off rather than taken our money, but you and I can sort of think about it as us paying him not to play for the Lakers. Which is not terrible. Also, he's not a great trade chip, but he's a trade chip.
In a certain sense, my young friends, this is a new world. Grantland exists, supposedly the intersection of sports and culture, but Lamar Odom already was that, unfortunately. I have my own suspicions why he couldn't handle Dallas this year and I strongly suspect that a lot of it is just like why Carmelo Anthony had to go to New York last year. LaLa needed to. Did Khloe kill Lamar? I certainly don't know.
But I do know that I at least haven't heard that any episodes of Khloe and Lamar were cancelled this season during Lamar's off-season or in-season workouts, or because of his lingering flu bug. I wouldn't necessarily have heard.
And also, also, let's be clear about this. There is nothing wrong with a couple working out where they want to live together. We don't live in that kind of world anymore. If Khloe was giving Lamar a tough time because she didn't want to live in Texas, because her career is in LA, you know, fine. I'm not a Kardashian fan, but it is a career, and Dallas isn't LA.
Lamar should have thought of that, though. Carmelo knew he had the leverage to go play in New York if he wanted to, Dwight Howard found out he no longer had the leverage to go where he wanted to, Lamar was lucky enough to be in the only city where it would work, then got his feelings hurt and demanded to be traded away. He got his wish.
In the end, the Mavs lose what was one of the few pieces that might, to a degree, have made up for their self-created mass-evacuation last year, a clever finisher, a good rebounder, and a good defender. In reality, of course, they never got that player, and a steal of a trade turned into a heist gone horribly wrong.
So it's a shame. Lamar's going through some stuff and I'm not going to bug him, however I might feel about it. The Mavs can go to work tomorrow knowing that everybody on the team wants to be there, but they also go as a less talented team. I don't know how much this saga affected them, though I suspect they're glad it's over.
When you turn on the TV tomorrow night, you will see a Mavs team that 100% wants to be there. That's worth something.
We're sorry about Lamar, but not more sorry than we were three months ago. And now we have some games to play.