Lamar Odom would've gotten over initial trade shock
Odom acted too emotionally after learning the Lakers tried to trade him in a deal that would've landed them New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul. The Lakers reacted the same way.
Odom overestimated in thinking the Lakers wouldn't trade him under any circumstances. The Lakers underestimated the importance in shipping him only if he represented part of a package for a blockbuster deal.
So where does that leave the Lakers? On paper, they traded Odom and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks for a first-round pick and an $8.9 million trade exception. In reality, the Lakers lost one of their best reserves, locker-room favorites and most versatile forward without a logical plan in sight and with an angered team in shambles.
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak met with a small group of reporters Monday at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo. In the 32-minute interview, he stated the Lakers are "pursuing big deals now." But after logging between 14 and 18 hours every day for the last 17 days, according to a team spokesman, Kupchak also acknowledged the Lakers don't have anything imminent.
Kupchak's rationale behind trading Odom reflected concern that future deals would've simply involved taking undesirable players to match salaries. But having Odom until a blockbuster trade opportunity arrived would've helped the Lakers at the negotiating table. Having Odom until that happens would've helped the Lakers on the court. Instead, they lack a key reserve and trade chip because of one stupid reason.
"The fact remains it wouldn't have taken place if he didn't ask for a change," Kupchak said of Odom.
Since when do the Lakers accomodate trade requests?
"They didn't listen to me when I asked," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said boastfully about his infamous trade demands four years ago.
"If he had stayed and they didn't trade him, he would've gotten over it," Bryant said of Odom. "There's no question about it. It is what it is man. You can't do nothing about it now."
Kupchak thought otherwise based on the version of events he provided. Odom met with him Friday and demanded a trade. His agent, Jeff Schwartz, called Kupchak on Saturday and again requested a trade.
"It would've sucked energy away from the team," Kupchak said. "We may not have a better opportunity."
Had the Lakers held tight, Kupchak argued, it would only be "possible" Odom's frustration would subside and that his performance would dip. But his life story clearly states otherwise.
At age 12, Odom lost his mother from colon cancer. In 2004, Odom lost the grandmother who raised him. In 2006, Odom lost his seven-month-old son from sudden infant death syndrome. Yet, Odom has maintained a positive outlook on life. After initially balking at Phil Jackson's request in 2008 to assume a reserve role, Odom soon embraced it and performed well enough for the Lakers to re-sign him in 2009 before he won last season's NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. Despite Odom missing the first two days of training camp out of frustration, Kupchak conceded it's unlikely he would've remained absent.
Instead, Odom's absence remains permanent. That wouldn't have happened if the Lakers didn't overreact to Odom's overreaction.
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Photo credits: John G. Mabanglo / EPA; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times