Dallas Mavericks Team Owner Mark Cuban told reporters Tuesday night that a war of words between he and veteran forward Lamar Odom in the locker room at half time of the Mavericks game on Saturday night led to deactivation of the big man on Monday by the team for the rest of the season. “The Dallas Morning News” and “ESPN.com” are reporting that Cuban told members of the media that he asked the veteran the club acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers, after Odom played just four minutes in the first half of the contest against the Memphis Grizzlies, if he was fully committed to the Mavericks. When the big man replied to Cuban to “stop playing games” his fate was sealed.
Cuban told reporters that was the moment that he realized it was time for the season long experiment; for Odom to become a productive player for Dallas to come to an end. The Mavericks Owner said “Well, yeah. Just his response to it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. You guys saw it, saw what we did. It didn’t work. And I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not. Is he in or is he out? I just didn’t get a commitment. And that was the end.”
Team management had started to question how committed Odom was to the club as he was constantly showing up late for practices, shootarounds and was one of the last players to show up on game nights. Cuban kept sticking up for last year’s NBA Sixth Man Of The Year, but he finally ran out of patience. He said “He didn’t want to play. He decided to go elsewhere or do something else. Now we regroup and go forward. So, you just take the circumstances and make the best of them. My job is to look at every player, employee, whatever and just treat them individually and put them in a position to succeed. I’ve failed miserably on this one. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time. Move on to the next.”
Odom is still a member of the Mavericks, but he will have no further contact with the team this season. He does have a deal in place for next season that would pay him $8.2 million; however there is a team buy-out for $2.4 million. The Mavericks will most likely explore trade options for the veteran in the off-season before they would consider exercising the buy-out.