In a curious move within a season full of them, the Dallas Mavericks and Lamar Odom decided to part ways on Monday. He wasn't granted his release, and he hasn't even been told that his option for next year won't be picked up, but he's just been asked to leave the team following a season of shooting around 35 percent from the floor. The Mavs are the defending champions, and in a contested Western Conference Odom's all-around talents could have put them over the top. Instead, he won't even get to play in the postseason. It's a sad, unfortunate tale that seems to have its genesis in the most typical of all incidents that preface a breakup.
It appears as if Lamar Odom and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got into a fight. ESPN's Marc Stein and Tim MacMahon are reporting that Cuban confronted Odom following a typically ineffective turn during halftime of Saturday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
According to sources, the crux of the heated halftime confrontation was Cuban asking Odom if he was "in or out." Sources said Odom, who had played only four minutes in the first half, reacted angrily to the question and did not take his seat on the bench until after the third quarter began.
The report goes on to note that Cuban has been in Odom's corner all season, defending him to the press and hoping at some point that Odom would turn the page on a frustrating season for all involved. Though we're supposed to be objective as we take on these 30 teams, Odom's versatile play and ability to turn the game around in his favor seemingly effortlessly has left us as breathless fans for years.
Toss in Dallas' versatile, intelligent roster, and the presence of the fantastic Rick Carlisle running things? It should have been basketball nirvana. Instead, a frustrated and disillusioned Odom skulked around the court all season, barely revealing glimpses of the sort of play that won him the NBA's Sixth Man Award just 11 months ago.
And when you chew with the boss, or take offense to him calling out yet another one of your listless performances? These things tend not to work out. Sad, sad, sad. And that's without me making much mention of the fact that this will no doubt end up as basic cable entertainment fodder, after much editing.
Cuban, the Mavs organization and Odom were classy and professional as they announced the dissolution, and there's still hope (at least from this end) that Lamar rediscovers the sort of spark that made him such a fantastic watch, and winning player in the first place. The playoffs don't start for another 18 days, he's still technically on the roster, and … ah, there we go again. Hoping for the best.