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Stop Booing Lamar Odom

With more reports circulating that Lamar Odom reportedly asked for a buyout from the Dallas Mavericks earlier in the year, the mercurial power forward's relationship with fans in North Texas is likely to become even more strained.

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In recent weeks, he's been greeted by a chorus of boos whenever he's entered games in the American Airlines Center.

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I'd offer only one word of advice to Dallas fans: Stop!

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The Mavericks need Lamar Odom this season and he's not exactly the type of guy who responds well to criticism. If the fans turn on him, he's far more likely to just go into a shell than he is to shrug it off.

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Ignore Odom's (admittedly) sub-par production, which is primarily a function of him playing out of position with Dirk entrenched at the power forward position.

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He gives Dallas athleticism, shot-creating and play-making off the bench, something this team needs in spades. Without Odom, as became obvious during his shore leave earlier in March, the Mavericks have a glaring hole in their front-court, which has three marginal centers and pretty much nothing behind Shawn Marion and Dirk at the 3/4 spots.

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Whatever he's going through off-the-court, he probably won't be with the team next season, so for now, everyone needs to just focus on getting through the year and not pointing fingers.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.