Lamar Odom dealt to Dallas
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom, so hurt by being included in a three-team trade for Chris Paul that was vetoed by the NBA last week, finally was dealt on Sunday, going to the Dallas Mavericks for an $8.9 million trade exception, as well as a protected first-round pick.
The Lakers also threw in a 2012 second-round draft pick in the deal, which came two days after Odom requested a trade, according to a Lakers team source.
"Right now, for me, having Odom, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, we may have the best forward trio in this league right now. And that's exciting," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Lamar Odom is a guy we have great respect for as a person and as an all-around player in this league. We feel he's going to add so many different dimensions for us -- length, playmaking, scoring, experience, championship experience."
Odom will aid the Mavs' recovery from Tyson Chandler's departure to the New York Knicks.
"Excited," Nowitzki said, describing his first emotion on hearing of the deal. "I mean really to get Lamar Odom for a trade exception -- and I don't even know what that is -- so we turned nothing into a great player. I've always been a fan of his game because he's always been a great all-around player. He's very smooth, very fun to watch, so I think he's going to fit in great. He can play multiple positions, he can guard multiple positions, he's long, so I think he's going to fit in well."
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak praised Odom for his time in L.A.
"Lamar was a fine player for us in his seven years with the Lakers and was a key to helping us win two championships," Kupchak said. "In addition, he always conducted himself with class and professionalism and we wish him well in the remainder of his career."
Regardless of whether the Lakers use the trade exception from Dallas in a subsequent trade, at the very least, the Lakers feel the trade allowed them to move a disgruntled player while saving close to $18 million in salary and luxury tax penalties, the source said. Another team source said there was also concern Odom would not have had as vital a role this season under new coach Mike Brown as he did under Jackson, when he was relied upon to activate the triangle offense when he was on the floor with the second unit.
Without those additional responsibilities, Odom becomes a very pricey substitute to retain on the roster.
Odom, 32, averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game last season while shooting a career-high 53 percent from the field. He contributed to two championship-winning teams and was named the league's Sixth Man of the Year last season. He has spent 11 of his 12 season in the NBA in L.A. (seven with the Lakers, four with the Clippers).
Calls to Odom and Schwarz made by ESPNLosAngeles.com were not immediately returned.
Odom's Laker teammates said there weren't happy with the deal.
"To be honest with you, I don't like it," Kobe Bryant said. "It's tough to lose Lamar. Pau (Gasol) is still here, and we're all thankful for that. It's hard when you've been through so many battles with players to just see them go somewhere else. It's tough."
Bryant and Derek Fisher led a chorus of confused anger from the Lakers, who have no idea what their front office is planning just two weeks before the season opener. Los Angeles is thought to be working on a deal for Orlando center Dwight Howard, but the trade exception obtained from Dallas could be only a minor part of any potential deal.
"As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be," Fisher said. "I'm very disappointed and frustrated for (Odom and Gasol). If I had my choice, Lamar would be a Laker for life."
Bryant said he hated seeing Odom leave Los Angeles: "Especially to them. We were supposed to come back and get them back. It's tough. ... Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don't think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade."
Odom indicated he was hurt by being included in the scuttled trade with New Orleans for Paul. Los Angeles, Houston and New Orleans agreed on a deal Thursday that would have sent Odom and Lakers forward Pau Gasol to New Orleans for Hornets guard Paul. Gasol would then have been sent to Houston for Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick.
NBA commissioner David Stern nixed the trade shortly thereafter and said he was stepping in to protect the best interests of the Hornets, who are currently controlled by the league while it shops for a new owner for the franchise.
In the aftermath of the canceled deal, Odom skipped the Lakers' first day of training camp Friday. He did, however, go to the practice facility to have a face-to-face meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak, during which he expressed his desire to be traded, according to the source. Kupchak asked Odom to reconsider his position and told the 12-year veteran to think over his decision.
"You don't want to go to no place you're not wanted," Odom told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
Odom abstained from practicing again on Saturday, instead using the practice time to undergo his annual team physical. In a conversation with Lakers management on Saturday, Odom's agent, Jeff Schwarz, reiterated Odom's desire to be traded, according to the source.
While Odom opted to stay away from the team while the trades were still in flux, Gasol has continued to practice with the team in the interim. Gasol was present for the team's media day Sunday and even filmed a television promo for the Lakers' Christmas Day game against Chicago. He looked into a camera and declared, "We're back!" while wearing his No. 16 Lakers jersey.
Gasol practiced with the team Sunday following the media day festivities.
"I don't think this is personal at all," Gasol said. "This is a business move, I think. The franchise is looking to do its best for the best interest of the franchise and the team. ... I'll just have to be professional. My wish is to stay here. I love being part of this team, this franchise, this city, their fans, everybody. So it's been during this last couple of days to have this uncertainty and insecurity. And probably, it's not over yet.
"I'm just going to be as professional as I can be and do my job and also just do what I love and play basketball and play with a team I like to play with."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPNDallas.com's Jeff Caplan and The Associated Press is included in this report.
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