Lamar Odom Talks Lakers, Retirement, BIG3

Longtime NBA forward Lamar Odom hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since the 2012/13 season, having battled off-court issues – including drug use – since then. However, the 14-year veteran believes he’d have a chance to still be playing in the NBA today if not for the trade that sent him from the Lakers to the Mavericks during the 2011 offseason. As he tells Shams Charania of The Vertical, Odom feels that he was never really himself after that trade.

“Being in L.A., the structure, the people I knew, it hurt leaving. I had great memories with the Lakers, with Kobe [Bryant] and Pau [Gasol]. That was a special time in my life,” Odom said. “I think about it all the time, about how much I had left in the tank. I had issues going on. But barring injury, could I play in the NBA today? I could play. I should still be playing.”

At age 37, Odom doesn’t intend to attempt an NBA comeback, and in fact has been in talks with the Lakers about signing a one-day contract during training camp to retire as a member of the organization, according to Charania.

Charania’s whole piece is worth checking out, but here are a few more highlights from Odom, who talked about the possibility of retiring as a Laker, his plans for the future, and a number of other topics:

On potentially retiring as a Laker:

“My family looks forward to me retiring as a Laker more than me. I’m not really emotional about being praised, about signing for a day. I’m shy at the end of the day. For my son, for my family, for my fans, they may enjoy that day. It’s for them. I ain’t celebrating not playing no more. In life though, I’ve learned to live with regrets.”

On his disappointing 2011/12 campaign with the Mavericks:

“That was a hard year for me because my cousin had just got killed. It was the lockout year, so I didn’t work out any, none, before that season. I spoke to Mark Cuban, and I told him the situation I was in emotionally, that this is what you’re getting, the player you’re getting. There were hard feelings over the course of the season. I thought I would return to my old form. … It’s too bad that it didn’t work out there because I really could have flourished with Dirk Nowitzki. I could have taken advantage of his skills and my skills. It’s too bad that I wasn’t at the top of my game mentally or physically. I couldn’t perform.”

On spending time with Luke Walton and the Lakers earlier this year, and potentially re-joining the franchise as a player development coach:

“I’ve thought about coaching with the Lakers, but I don’t know if I’m ready to commit myself. It was cool being back around that environment, watching Lonzo [Ball] work out. You could tell he will be special. It’s always good to be back around the Lakers’ facility. There’s nothing but good memories, besides that trade.

On the possibility of joining Ice Cube’s BIG3 league in 2018:

“I might play in the BIG3 next year. It would give me something to do. That league is going to last. It’s not going anywhere, and more dudes will get down with it. Getting $100,000 for playing, and three-on-three is nothing to these guys. They can play still. … I think the BIG3 could become international. It could tour. Basketball is an international game, and the four-point shot is entertainment. The reason it’s going to last is Cube – and celebrities come out for it.”

View Comments (1)