Lamar Odom Leaves Dallas, After Disappointing Season

Leaving Dallas.

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And so it’s come to this: Lamar Odom’s time as a member of the Dallas Mavericks ends not with a bang, not with playoff redemption or a long-hoped-for moment in the sun after a season shrouded in darkness, but with a whimper of what amounts to a release.

According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, an agreement reached Sunday allows the two sides to part company immediately, with the long-struggling Odom leaving Dallas for the remainder of the season without the defending NBA champs actually having to release him, and thus holding on to his rights.

“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,” Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.” [...]

Sources said Monday that Odom’s departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13.

The Mavs acquired the 13-year veteran before the season started in what looked like a steal of a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson sent the Lakers a 2012 first-round draft pick and an $8.9 million trade exception for Odom, who reportedly demanded Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak trade him after feeling betrayed by his inclusion in a league-vetoed deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Staples Center and made Odom a part of the New Orleans Hornets.


At the time of the trade, the Mavs were thought to have scored a huge coup — Odom, a 6-foot-10 jack of all trades and reigning Sixth Man of the Year, could help cushion the loss of championship center Tyson Chandler in free agency, giving the Mavs a versatile frontcourt scorer and defender whom coach Rick Carlisle could deploy in a variety of lineups to create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. That vision never materialized, though.

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