In the midst of a one-point, one-rebound, one-assist performance in last Wednesday's game against the Lakers, Lamar Odom was booed by the hometown crowd in Dallas. He told reporters today that hearing those boos was "a little confusing and little hurtful," as Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas writes.
"I admitted I was out of shape for different reasons when I came into camp. I admitted what I had been through," Odom said. "I was honest about how my summer went, how I almost left the game with everything I went through, and I think people just took it the wrong way, like I had a reason not to be here or if I didn't want to be here…. I think people took that the wrong way and the next thing I know I'm trying to come out of a slump and I check into a game and I'm getting booed. I'm not really used to that."
Odom has been mired in a season-long slump since being traded to Dallas, prompting Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas to write over the weekend that the Mavericks need to cut ties with with the ex-Laker. While a buyout may have made sense at one point, Odom would lose his playoff eligiblity if he was bought out and waived now, so he has little incentive to agree to a pay cut. The Mavs could still simply waive the veteran, eating the guaranteed money left on his contract this year and next. That also seems unlikely though, since the team still hopes he can turn things around.
Owner Mark Cuban has insisted that the Mavs don't care about Odom's point totals or other traditional stats, if he can help them in other ways: "When he comes in, does the lead go up or down?" Cuban said over the weekend. "That’s all I care about." Of course, as MacMahon points out, the team's commitment to Odom makes even less sense given that stance — his plus-minus over the last ten games is minus-67.
There's still time for Odom to regain the form that earned him the Sixth Man of the Year award in Los Angeles a season ago, but it's looking less and less likely to happen this season. At this point, I think it's almost a certainty that Odom won't be a Maverick in 2012/13. Whether or not he finishes the year with the team and earns playoff minutes is the more pressing question.