The Mavs and Lamar Odom have mutually agreed to part ways, ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting. The team is not releasing him, and will simply make him inactive for the rest of the season, Stein says. That way, the Mavs can still try to trade his contract in the offseason.
Odom is scheduled to receive $8.2MM in the last year of his deal next season, but if he's released by June 29, the team that holds his rights is only on the hook for $2.4MM. The Mavs acquired Odom from the Lakers in December for a first-round pick, but his tenure in Dallas has been marked by controversy and poor play. Still, the Mavs have gone 0-7 without Odom this year, including the nearly two weeks he missed while dealing with his ailing father in late February and early March.
Odom is averaging career lows in points (6.6), rebounds (4.1), minutes (20.5), field goal percentage (35.2%) and three-point percentage (25.2%). His minutes dwindled even further in the past week, and after he played just four minutes Saturday in a loss to Memphis, both coach Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki refused to answer questions about Odom.
Odom was reportedly "desperate" to return to Los Angeles at one point this season, and another report has suggested Kobe Bryant wants the Lakers to bring him back this summer. Even if the Mavs were to formally let go of Odom, he would be ineligible to play for another team in the playoffs this year.
Odom issued a statement to ESPN.com, saying, "The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team. I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."