Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Updated: March 27, 9:01 AM ET
Lamar Odom willing to apologize
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- Los Angeles Clippers forward Lamar Odom told ESPNDallas.com on Tuesday he would apologize to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban if they had a conversation but felt no guilt about the role he played in his premature departure from Dallas last season.
Odom returned to the American Airlines Center on Tuesday for the first time since the "mutual decision" for him to leave the Mavericks with a few weeks left in last season, a roster move that Cuban called "addition by subtraction" at the time.
A sellout crowd at the AAC booed Odom every time he touched the ball Tuesday night. Cuban, who usually sits courtside by the Mavs' bench, did not attend the game.
Odom's brief tenure in Dallas was high on drama -- including a midseason sabbatical when he left early for the All-Star break and returned late, missing four games -- but low on production. The 2010-11 Sixth Man of the Year arrived in a post-lockout trade from the Los Angeles Lakers and averaged career lows in essentially every statistical category during his 50-game stint for the Mavericks.
"Guilty? No, no, no," Odom said when asked if he felt guilt about the way his season in Dallas unfolded. "It happens.
"I was telling one of my friends, right, that you got some people, they meet and they can be married for 40 years and after 40 years they get a divorce. They could have been high school sweethearts. Then you got people that meet one night, have a glass of wine with each other and they talk and then they're married for 100 years.
"This is a relationship-built business. Sometimes people just see things differently."
Cuban had seen enough of Odom, whose lack of effort was an issue all season, after four lackadaisical minutes in an April 7 game in Memphis. After a heated halftime confrontation between the two, when Cuban challenged Odom's commitment to the Mavs, Cuban decided to send Odom home with pay for the rest of the season.
The Mavs would have paid a $2.4 million buyout in Odom's contract this offseason if they couldn't find a trade partner, but they sent him to the Clippers in a four-team trade, getting nothing of basketball value in return.
Odom acknowledged saying before the season that he wanted to apologize to Cuban, but they have not had a conversation. Asked what he would apologize for, Odom said, "That's between me and him. He might feel the same way."
Cuban was not available before Tuesday's game, but he has previously indicated that he has ill will for Odom. Last week, Cuban mentioned that he booed Odom under his breath during the Mavs' two losses to the Clippers in Los Angeles this season and strongly hinted that he intended to vocalize his displeasure with Odom on Tuesday night.
Odom said he would let "nature take its course" instead of attempting to initiate a conversation with Cuban. Odom also questioned whether Cuban really had hard feelings for him.
"See what someone says, I can't see what's in your heart and in your mind or what you're thinking," Odom said. "So I can say, 'F--- that garbage can,' but I love it. And you wouldn't ever know, because every time I come up to you I say, 'F--- that garbage can,' you know what I'm saying?
"That would be a conversation for me and Mark to have, just me and Mark."
Odom's scoring average has actually dipped even lower this season to 4.1 points per game, but he plays a significant role on a potential contending team as a solid rebounder and defender off the bench. He said he's "grown" since he left Dallas and returned to Los Angeles.
"At the end of the day, I'm happy or I'm in the pursuit of happiness," Odom said. "You know what I'm saying? So I wouldn't really waste my energy not to like someone. Everybody here treated me fair."