Lakers trade Lamar Odom to the Mavericks
The Lakers made a trade Saturday, but it wasn’t for Chris Paul or Dwight Howard.
Two days after getting rebuffed by the NBA in an apparent deal for Paul, the Lakers sent forward Lamar Odom to Dallas for the Mavericks’ first-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft.
“It’s a done deal,” said a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The Mavericks might also send the Lakers another unspecified draft pick. It was not immediately clear if the move was a straight salary dump or a circuitous effort to try to get Howard down the road or, less likely, Paul.
Next year’s draft is considered deep, but the Mavericks, the defending NBA champions, aren’t expected to have a high selection.
The Lakers lost depth in the front court and a solid character in the locker room. Odom, 32, was the sixth man of the year last season after averaging 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds. He is owed $8.9 million this season and $8.2 million next season, of which only $2.5 million is guaranteed.
The Lakers also received a traded-player exception worth Odom’s salary this season. Trade exceptions are difficult to explain, but the Lakers can obtain a player from another team by trading only a draft pick if the player makes less than $9 million. Teams have exactly one year to use a traded-player exception.
Acquired by the Lakers in 2004 as part of the Shaquille O’Neal trade, Odom was disturbed to be part of the voided Paul trade and did not take part in practice the first two days of training camp. He showed up at the team’s training facility Saturday only so he could take a physical.
A favorite of Lakers followers, Odom was not happy with “the way things had been going” in recent days, according to a person close to Odom who was not authorized to speak publicly. Odom is, however, content to be going to Dallas, the person said, and received a welcoming phone call from Mavericks owner Mark Cuban late Saturday night.
Odom found out he was in the initial trade proposal for Paul on Thursday after a reporter from The Times called to ask his thoughts on it. A day later, he was still confused, if not irritated.
“To me, I would think it’s better to stay away,” Odom told The Times in a phone interview Friday. “You know, the energy and all. I don’t know how it’s going to go right now. It’s a little weird?. Right now, I’ll be a fan of the game from a distance.”
The Mavericks lost free-agent forward Caron Butler to the Clippers a few days ago and could comfortably restock the forward position with Odom.
Howard, the reigning defensive player of the year, officially asked for a trade Saturday but early reports had him wanting to play for the New Jersey Nets, not the Lakers, somewhat surprisingly.
The Lakers, Nets and Dallas were granted permission to talk to Howard’s agent about a trade, but the Nets would have had substantially more to offer than the Lakers if the Paul trade had been accepted a few days ago by the NBA.
If the Lakers lost Pau Gasol and Odom in that trade, they could have offered to Orlando a package of Andrew Bynum and ... what exactly?
Howard and Paul can both become free agents next July, forcing their teams to try to work out trades instead of losing the perennial All-Stars for nothing after the season.
On Saturday, the Lakers withdrew from the framework of a second offer for Paul, who could now end up with a Clippers team that had expressed interest in him last week.
The Clippers could offer center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu, injured guard Eric Bledsoe and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round draft pick obtained by the Clippers in 2005. The Clippers remain adamant about not trading up-and-coming shooting guard Eric Gordon for Paul.
Gasol was at the Lakers’ facility Saturday and actually took part in practice.
“It’s just not been easy mentally and emotionally,” said Gasol, speaking with reporters for the first time since the NBA blocked Thursday’s trade, which had him going to Houston and Odom to New Orleans.
“It’s a hard situation to deal with. You come in and you’re excited about a new challenge, new season, new coaching staff ... and then obviously all these talks are on and it was very close to happening.
“If the NBA hadn’t stopped it, I would be gone. I wouldn’t be here today. It’s tough to keep your balance. I’m happy that it hasn’t happened because my heart is here, my mind is here. That’s the reality.”
Gasol’s interview lasted a few minutes before he ducked into the locker room.
“I was looking forward to the opportunity of winning another [championship], making another run,” he said before he left, not knowing what the immediate future held.
As the Lakers waited to see which new All-Star, if any, might arrive at their team facility, there were plenty of observations on the second day of training camp in El Segundo.
Luke Walton scrimmaged on the first team with Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Bynum and Gasol.
Metta World Peace was on the second team, playing power forward, along with Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Derrick Caracter and Jason Kapono.
Bynum had the play of the day in an otherwise sloppy scrimmage, dunking one-handed off an alley-oop pass from Fisher.
Also, this much is known: Mike Brown is a lot louder than Phil Jackson at practice. The new Lakers coach was seen bounding up and down the practice court, enthusiastically trying to get players to follow his new schemes.
Bryant was reluctant to compare the style of the two coaches, allowing only with a smile that, “Phil was, like, 80. Phil can’t move.”
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