The Los Angeles Lakers decided to trade 2011 Sixth Man of the Year, Lamar Odom, to the Dallas Mavericks after the Chris Paul deal fell apart. Although this move was executed to free-up salary cap space, neither Lakers players no fans are happy with seeing Odom leave.
Odom had been an integral part to the Lakers’ previous two championship runs, and his former teammates raved about his attitude in the locker-room. Even though Odom was a fan favorite in Los Angeles, his relationship with the front office deteriorated in his final days as a Laker.
At first, Lamar Odom was supposed to be traded to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for Chris Paul, and simply put, Odom did not want to head to the Big Easy. He talked about how going from a championship quality team to a squad that cannot compete for a title would be very difficult. However, what made Odom most disappointed was the manner in which the Lakers went about the trade, writes Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas.
“It wasn’t about going to New Orleans. It was just about how they did it,” Odom said. “I felt a little disrespected. After being here for so long and going through so many things, I felt like they could have just told me and I probably would have accepted it. If someone is telling you that you can’t be here or there’s no more room for you, you got to understand that. I think because it’s just how they did it is the reason why I took it so personal.”
Odom was clearly disgusted with the Lakers’ front-office and he did not feel comfortable playing for a team that did not necessarily want him there. Although the Lakers’ General Manager Mitch Kupchak said that he would have kept Odom on the team after the Paul deal died, Odom expressed his desire to leave the team.
Fans can blame the front-office all they want for Odom’s departure, but he could have handled the situation more professionally. Pau Gasol was also rumored in the Paul deal, but he did not complain to the Lakers after it collapsed. The Lakers could still have had three seven-footers if Odom truly wanted to remain a Laker.