Although the regular season is less than a month old, speculation has already started about the makeup of the Dallas Mavericks roster for the 2012-2013 campaign. The Mavericks allowed guards Caron Butler and Jose Juan Barea as well as Tyson Chandler to walk away from the team as Free Agents. Dallas Team Owner Mark Cuban, General Manager Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle have never confirmed this; but the buzz throughout the Association is that they let the three leave the club to clear salary cap space for next year. Many NBA observers believe that the reigning Champions will make a big push to sign point guard Deron Williams and center Dwight Howard when they become Free Agents next summer.
David Aldridge from “NBA.com” reported on Monday that the Mavericks veteran forward Lamar Odom, who came to the club last month via a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, could find himself looking for a new home after this season. The NBA Sixth Man Of The Year last season has a contract that calls for him to make $8.2 million next season; but it is only partially guaranteed. The Mavericks could buy out Odom at the end of this campaign for $2.4 million and clear even more cap space for pursuing Free Agents for next year.
So far the transition from playing in the Lakers triangle-offense to the more complex game that Carlisle runs has been anything but smooth. Odom has shot for an anemic 29% in the young season and has just broken into double figures in one game thus far. The veteran told reporters “There’s a lot of movement, a lot of playmaking, whether it be off the dribble,or the pass, or using your shot. We flow into a lot of stuff, play basketball, and let the pass, the movement of the basketball, dictate where we’re going to go with it, and how we’re going to get there. There may be one or two (things that are similar to the triangle offense), and that’s a certain set that we might run that has some similarities to it. But other than that, the triangle is a totally complete different system than any other basketball system in the NBA. The language is so different … your basketball vocabulary is so different, the words you use. Like, there, you don’t use ‘curl’ or ‘pindown,’ or anything like that. So you have to tune in. It’s a totally different basketball school again. At the end of the day, it’s basketball. I think the way I play, and my style, I think I can still play good basketball without necessarily learning, without necessarily knowing all the ins and outs right away. Because once I get my legs under me, it won’t stop the way I rebound, or defend, or make basketball plays. Once I get there, get my body right, it’ll all fall into place.”
Teammate Jason Terry believes that it will come together for Odom shortly. Terry said “He’s going to get into a rhythm. Basketball’s a rhythm sport. And when you’re a guy like Lamar, he’s the type of player like I am, coming off the bench, where you have to be ready to go. Right now, it’s not happening for him, but it will soon. And when he has that breakout game, it’ll be something to build on, and he can start to put together one and two and three games of consistent play, at both ends of the floor.”
With the experience and talent that Odom brings to the table; it is quite likely that Terry’s assessment of the situation will pan out. That still does not preclude that the power forward could be with his third team in less than a year next summer if the Mavericks can acquire the personnel that they are seeking.