The idea that the Dallas Mavericks would be willing to deal Lamar Odom to the Los Angeles Clippers this week makes sense for the Dallas Mavericks, way more than any of the other potential teams involved. This deal is out there not because Odom absolutely stunk in his 13th season last year, or because Los Angeles initially drafted Odom in 1999 and fielded him as a Clipper until 2003, but because the Dallas Mavericks would like to save $2.4 million. That's the amount of a buyout they'd have to send Odom's way on Friday if they're unable to find a team to take on the potential $8.2 million owed to Odom next year.
Only teams working without an active GM would seem to want to rush to do Dallas that favor, and the Clippers would fall under that category. Otherwise, squads can just sit back and let the Mavs pay off the final $2.4 million on their Odom investment, and await Odom's decision as to which of the cap exceptions to take this summer as an unrestricted free agent. An unrestricted free agent with the baggage that includes a potentially-distracted (to put it kindly) reality TV background following him around, a 33rd birthday in November, a 35 percent shooting mark from the field in 2011-12, and a history of sometimes declining to take the best care of himself.
Still, the Mavs have to try. ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the team is attempting to deal him to the Clippers for somewhat-redundant (considering Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, and Chauncey Billups' injury histories) guard Mo Williams, but not if the Mavs have to take Williams' salary back. Which is smart, of course, because the Mavs don't need Williams or his salary (a player option for 2012-13 he seems determined to pick up, at $8.5 million), despite his agent hilariously reminding Stein that Williams is "an All-Star starting point guard."
(Williams never started an All-Star Game.)
(Williams did play in one, in 2009, but was selected as an injury reserve.)
(Williams, who we like quite a bit, probably shouldn't have even made it that year as an injury reserve.)
(Agents are the best.)
Stein points out that the Lakers, in need of a point guard even if they bring back Ramon Sessions this summer, could easily absorb all of Williams' salary with the trade exception they have left over from the — you guessed it — Lamar Odom deal. Which means this potential trade is checking off all the boxes we need to click when it comes to NBA links — trade rumors, Lamar Odom news, Lakers involvement, and Dallas money machinations.
On top of that, you get the usual caveats from Stein if the expected happens and Dallas fails to find a suitor before Friday:
If no trade can be struck, either this week or before an adjusted deadline, Dallas is expected to eventually buy Odom out and make him a free agent, with big-market teams such as Miami and New York also planning to pursue him in that scenario.
The Knicks and the Heat! Tim Tebow could not be reached for comment, but call me maybe?
There is so much substance here, despite us having fun with it. We don't doubt that the Clippers would love to make a lateral move, salary wise, and add to their limited wing depth with a player in Odom they think is closer to the all-around demon that showed up in 2010-11 with the Lakers than the mess that played in Dallas last year. And the armchair psychologists and dieticians in all of us are probably correct in assuming that Odom somewhat returns to form while playing in one of his hometowns (adopted or otherwise) in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami. While actually aware that there will be a season this year, unlike last fall, and showing up to camp in shape.
The Lakers? They've committed to not committing to paying the luxury tax, even at the expense of the team's talent on paper, and would seem to want to pass on Odom even if ownership decides to use the amnesty clause on Metta World Peace this summer. Remember that, should things get pretty touchy with the Laker rotation, they'll have that exception to work with until the first week of December.
Dallas? It's all about saving that $2.4 million, as they attempt to work on either big deals or big signings, while watching Deron Williams possibly slip away. That small cap commitment -- less than half of an average yearly contract -- could sway things. Which is why they're trying to sway things before Odom's Friday deadline.
And because of all the particulars? We can't help but swaying over, clicking, and reading.
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