On Wednesday February 22, 2012 Lamar Odom, #7 on the Dallas Mavericks, took some time off before the Mavs played the LA Lakers that night in Dallas which the Mavs had lost. Many that work for ESPN wrote in their blogs that a source stated that Lamar took the absence to attend to his father who was ill. Some say he was only expected to miss that night’s game and report back to the Mavs for their practice on Monday February 27, 2012 after the All-Star Weekend. But Lamar did not report back to the Mavs that Monday, and that few days away turned into a week.
The Mavs played the New Jersey Nets Tuesday February 28th and the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday February 29th losing both of those games. During this time Carlisle said he hoped to hear from Lamar on Thursday with an update. Also rumors began to circulate that Lamar was looking for a buyout or wanting to retire. A buyout is when the Mavs pay Lamar some or all of the money left on his contract. The Lamar would leave the team and after a few days could talk to other teams about joining their team. Mark Cuban said, “We’re not going to do that (buyout). That’s not the way we work. We try to find what the problem is and fix it.”
Finally on Wednesday March 1, 2012, while the Mavericks were in Memphis for their game, Mark Cuban met with Lamar Odom and his agent Jeff Schwartz in Dallas. During the meeting Lamar and his agent asked Mark if Lamar could go to the D-League and play during Saturday’s game and then return to the Mavs on Sunday. They believed this would help him get back into shape and then return to the Mavericks. Mark agreed.
Friday March 2, 2012 the Coach finally spoke his mind. While speaking on 103.3 FM ESPN Dallas Radio on “Galloway and Company.” Coach Carlisle said, “I’m disappointed with the way the whole thing’s gone,” talking about the whole situation. He continued, “We’ve worked hard with this kid. I’m a patient guy, Mark is a patient guy, Donnie is a patient guy, our team is a patient team, but patience has worn thin here.” Rick also says, “When he comes back, we’re going to find out very quickly where things are at. He’s going to have to show us with his actions and attitude that he’s in.” Coach talks about how Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, is a great owner. Rick says, “Mark asks a fundamental question of anybody that’s involved with our franchise: Are they in or are they not in?” Coach Rick Carlisle says, “Our players want to see the guy playing like his pants are on fire, and we haven’t seen that so far. And that’s got to change.” From this interview I got the impression that Coach Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks are ready to see Lamar start playing like he wants to be a part of the team.
To listen to Rick Carlisle on Galloway and Company click here: http://espn.go.com/espnradio/dallas/play?id=7639481
Also that Friday after morning shoot around in New Orleans Jason Kidd, #2 for the Dallas Mavericks, talked to Tim McMahon with ESPNDallas.com. Kidd said, “Trust factor is always big,” when asked about the situation with Lamar. Kidd continues, “For that, he’s going to have to earn it with a lot of the guys. But we all give second chances, third chances. For that, we just want him to be him and be comfortable and play.” After this, Friday night the Mavs lost their 4th game in a row, and headed back to Dallas to get ready to play again Saturday night.
Saturday March 3, 2012 before Lamar was going to attend the Maverick’s D-League shoot around to practice before the game, but was recalled back up to play with the Mavericks that night. It is said that the Mavs called Lamar back up because they need him. That night before the game Lamar Odom apologized to the team. He did not explain the personal issue that took him away from the team for so long, but Lamar did say, “Mark Cuban is a great owner for understanding. Sometimes we have to fix whatever’s going on off the court in order for us to fix what’s going on on the court.” Then Lamar Odom expressed how he needed his teammates.
The Mavs played the Utah Jazz that night in Dallas. The Mavs finally got a win. When Lamar was announced to enter the game the crowed was divided with boos and cheers, maybe even more cheers than boos. I was surprised by this, because I thought that his actions would have upset more fans. Lamar was not good in the first only playing 8 minutes and made 2 points and got one rebound. Then in the second half he did a lot better making 7 more points, 4 more rebounds, and even had 3 assists.
When the game was over Coach Carlisle described Odom’s game as “awesome” and said, “This is by far the most energy he’s played with the entire year and I don’t think it’s close.” Carlisle added, “He was into it. But now that he’s done it, he’s got to do it again and again and again. He’s got to do it 28 times before the playoffs, and he can do it. I’m fully convinced that he can do it.”
I hope the Coach is right and Lamar has figured things out and can stay focused on the court and play to his best ability again. With all that has happened he does not seem trustworthy. I don’t believe he will consistently play well for the Dallas Mavericks. I feel that with what has happened it just shows everyone how much he really cares about this team. I feel that if you really wanted to be a part of a team you would not just leave for so long and would keep everyone posted about what is going on. I do not think it is right that he is being so secretive about his “personal issues.” Yes it is ok to keep it a secret from fans and media but not from your teammates, coach, and owner. The team has a right to not trust Lamar. Though I highly doubt it, maybe this time off helped Lamar and he is now going to be able to focus and play like he cares.