Is Lamar Odom Going To Find An NBA Team To Play For Next Season?
For Lamar Odom, it might as well be June right now. Although he’s technically still signed to the Dallas Mavericks, Odom and the Mavs recently announced that the NBA‘s reigning Sixth Man of the Year will be listed as “inactive” for the rest of the regular season and playoffs and will no longer play for the team. Best case scenario: The Mavs find a team willing to trade for him at the start of the summer. Worst case: They avoid paying him $8.2 million next season by releasing him before June 29 and let some other team out there pick him up. The problem for Odom? There might not be many suitors willing to take a chance on a 32-year-old forward who put up career lows this season and didn’t seem all that inspired to play.
Now, for the record, I do think that Odom will find a few different teams next season who will want to sign him. Despite his lackluster performance as a Maverick, he can still play ball. He just never really fit in with the Mavs after showing up at the beginning of the season out of shape and missing a bunch of time due to an illness in his family. However, the thing that concerns me is Odom’s off-the-court issues. And I’m not referring to his marriage to Khloe Kardashian, either. What I’m referring to is the fact that Odom almost retired at the beginning of the 2011-12 NBA season because his heart wasn’t into the game anymore. To her credit, Khloe convinced him to stick it out and play for at least one more year. But, it’s going to be harder for her to do it next year, because he’s going to be another year older and less productive than he’s been in years past.
I’m also concerned because it sounds as if Odom had his spirits killed by the Los Angeles Lakers when they traded him in December for nothing more than a trade exception from the Mavs. There’s been some talk about him going back to L.A. to play alongside Kobe Bryant again in the future. But, I don’t see how that improves the Lakers roster at all. They’ve already got guys with age on that team. And, by trading Derek Fisher at the NBA trade deadline, I get the impression they’re trying to get younger as opposed to sticking with the same squad they’ve had the last few years. And, if Odom doesn’t go back to La La Land, where does he go? Could he realistically help a contender like the Miami Heat? Would he fit in with someone like the Orlando Magic? Does he have any desire to go to a young, promising team like the Milwaukee Bucks? I just don’t see it happening. And, as a result, his options might be very limited.
I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Odom. But, I fear that there’s at least a chance that he could be finished. Who knows? Maybe he does find a way to convince the Lakers that they need him again. Or, maybe he uses the rest of this season to reevaluate his situation and comes back more determined than ever in September. But with his best days behind him and his stint with the Mavs tainting his resume ever so slightly, I’m guessing that there will be a lot of teams out there who pass up the chance to sign him next season. Hopefully, it doesn’t play out that way. But, if it does, he might have just played his final NBA game.