The Dallas Mavericks have assigned Lamar Odom to their D-League affiliate, Texas Legends, on what is being viewed as a "rehab stint."
Odom is expected to practice with the Texas Legends on Friday afternoon and play Saturday, at home against the Austin Toros. Meanwhile, the Mavs' big club plays at New Orleans on Friday night. The team has already announced that Odom won't make the trip.
Odom's future in Dallas is still up for question. It has been an up-and-down season for Odom on and off the court. The latest rumors have him landing with the Celtics, or have him reportedly being traded to the Suns for Steve Nash or him simply being bought out by the Mavericks, one thing is for sure, his time with the Mavs has been anything but smooth-sailing. It, of course, started with his frustration on being traded from the Lakers which distracted his play on the court
A source told Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas that there's "a growing feeling in the locker room that Odom might not return at all."
The 12-year pro is having his worst season yet. Currently, he is averaging 7.7 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game in 21.4 minutes per game for the Mavs. A far cry from his production for the Lakers last season when he averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in 32.2 minutes per game.
There is no doubt Dallas is not getting production from Odom everyone knows he can give, and it is quite obvious Odom is not happy in Dallas. Perhaps a change of scenery is in order for both sides. Owner Mark Cuban met with his agent this past Wednesday when Dallas played Memphis to work on a timetable for Odom's return from personal leave. The team says Odom will rejoin the Mavs when they face the Jazz later this week. But even that seems uncertain.
Odom is in his final year of his contract ($8.9 million) and the Mavs hold a team option for next season ($8.2 million). At the rate this season is going, this may well indeed be his final and only season in a Mavs uniform, especially if the Mavs would like to have his contract off the book for next season.
However, perhaps keeping Odom for one more season might be in the Mavs best interest.
Many speculate Dallas is gunning to add Dwight Howard should he not decide to return to Orlando. With Odom, Dallas could possibly have quite the formidable frontcourt (Howard, Odom and Nowitzki) in the NBA should Howard land in Dallas next season.
Of course, Odom and whatever personal issues he is dealing with will have to be settled before any of this can happen and want to remain a Mav.
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