Lamar Odom chapter filled with new intrigue

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
11:28
AM CT
We'll probably never know coach Rick Carlisle's true feelings about Lamar Odom and the forward's indifferent attitude and disappointing performances with the Dallas Mavericks.

Carlisle is a pragmatist. He doesn't obsess over what might have been.

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"It’s a chapter that is one that will go down in Mavs history as just something that didn’t work out," Carlisle told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Galloway & Company earlier this week. "We all tried. We all wanted it to work; Lamar wanted it to work. It was just rough. At times it felt like we were gaining momentum, but we just couldn’t get there and in the end we had to go on without him."

One has to wonder how badly Odom really wanted it to work since only he could control his attitude and effort. The Odom chapter is not yet closed because, well, he's still a member of the team. The Mavs would love to slam the book shut by trading Odom around the draft and getting rid of the $2.4 million potential cap hit, the amount guaranteed on the final year of his deal that in full is worth $8.2 million.

The deadline to trade Odom and wipe his potential cap hit from the books is June 29. Any team that has him on its roster by that date is responsible for paying him his guaranteed money. Two well-documented trade partners include Sacramento and Toronto, teams with substantial cap space to absorb Odom on the payroll and waive him. The Mavs will throw in cash to cover the buyout and maybe even throw in a second-round draft pick.

That strategy has seemed the most logical because, the thinking has gone, the Mavs in no way will take back salary because it would burn their cap space and squeeze their ability to offer Deron Williams a max contract in free agency.

Then, Carlisle on GAC offered just a scenario.

"One of the things about Odom’s contract is it is a contract that is going to be very desirable because it is a large number with a small guarantee, like (Jerry) Stackhouse’s and like (Erick) Dampier’s deal," Carlisle said. "Those two contract situations turned into (Shawn) Marion and (Tyson) Chandler. Those were two important building blocks to a championship."

Whether he meant to or not, Carlisle opened the door for speculation that the Mavs could be open to dealing Odom for a player of relevance. It would require packaging him with say, Shawn Marion ($8.6 million next season), for a high-dollar player another team wants to get out from under the contract, for example Pau Gasol in Los Angeles or Amare Stoudemire in New York.

The catch is that such a deal would make it difficult for the Mavs to then carve out enough cap space to offer a max deal to Williams. That is unless Dallas then moved the incoming player to another team in exchange for a player whose salary matched Marion's, as ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Jeff "Skin" Wade explained on Wednesday's Ben & Skin Show.

Such a scenario would rid the Mavs of Odom's cap hit, bring in a player at (most likely) a position of need and keep the Mavs in play to offer Williams the moon.

Such a plan won't be easy to carry through, but it certainly was curious of Carlisle to mention, unprompted, the possibility.

So let the speculation begin.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2