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Category: Lamar Odom

Derek Fisher believes Lamar Odom will improve soon

The warm embraces. The 45-second video montage. The loud cheers permeating throughout Staples Center.

It was an atmosphere that Mavericks forward and former Laker Lamar Odom acknowledged as "surreal." It was a feeling Lakers forward Derek Fisher acknowledged as "emotional." And following the Lakers' 73-70 win Monday over the Dallas Mavericks, it's a game that appeared to mark a turning point in Odom's development.

After averaging 6.8 points, five rebounds and a 31.2% shooting clip for Dallas, Odom already exceeded that average with seven first-quarter points. He cooled off with 10 points and four rebounds, but it's an effort that led both TNT analyst Charles Barkley and Fisher believing the game served as a positive cathartic experience.

"Lamar is going to be fine," Fisher said. "I think he obviously struggled with the situation here early. But he's a pro. He's continuing to develop in his maturism. I'm sure he'll be fine."

Many teammates have expressed upset emotions over the circumstances surrounding the Lakers accommodating Odom's trade demand, but they've all publicly supported the decision. The atmosphere surrounding Odom's return clearly showed how everyone on the Lakers genuinely missed his presence.

Well, at least most of it.

"We weren't sure whether to take all the stars and celebrities coming out to last night's game as a sign they were there for us. Or they were there for Lamar," Fisher said with a smile. "But it was definitely an emotional feeling in the building last night."

RELATED:

What if Lamar Odom hadn't been traded by the Lakers?

Lamar Odom has 'mixed emotions' on playing the Lakers

Five things Lakers miss about Lamar Odom

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

What if Lamar Odom hadn't been traded by the Lakers?

The moment Lamar Odom checked in at the scorer's table, Lakers guard Derek Fisher hugged him, General Manager Mitch Kupchak clapped for him and the crowd of 18,997 fans all but embraced him. 

Moments later, a 45-second video montage played on the Staples Center scoreboard showcasing numerous highlights and community appearances, ending with the message: "THANKS for the memories, LAMAR."

It's fair to presume many Laker fans still can't help but wonder why the Lakers traded Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. Fisher acknowledged the team's difficulty in absorbing Odom's loss but argued that "we've probably moved past the woulda-shoulda-coulda aspect of it."

But based on the comments sections, Laker fans are having a harder time letting go. Why did Kupchak have to follow through on Odom's trade request? Why couldn't Odom have emulated Pau Gasol's reaction that involved reiterating his desire to remain with the Lakers?

"Our situations are completely different," Odom said. "You can't compare the two. They were different. Especially when things didn't happen, they were completely different."

This much is certain: If the Lakers had kept Odom, it would have changed things in a number of areas. 

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Lamar Odom has 'mixed emotions' on playing the Lakers

As soon as he entered the Lakers' practice facility, Lamar Odom encountered reminders of how some things change and some things remain the same. 

He enthusiastically made small-talk with a Lakers public relations official and team attendants, but said he intentionally avoided entering the facility where the Lakers' players normally enter. Odom appeared comfortable at a shoot-around on the Lakers' practice court, though he admits wears a Dallas Mavericks uniform has prompted adjustments. And while Odom seemed excited about making the U.S. Olympic team, overall he appeared more serious than jovial. 

Odom conceded feeling conflicted about playing the Lakers on Monday night at Staples Center, a little more than a month after the Lakers traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. 

"I don't know how I feel," Odom said. "Of course you have to play them. That's a good question. I have mixed emotions. Things move on. There's no hard feelings. It is what it is."

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Lamar Odom still questions Lakers' trade

Lamar Odom

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan has breakfast in Dallas with former Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who still questions why the Lakers tried to trade him to the New Orleans Hornets.

--The Times' Ben Bolch explains the Lakers' unsuccesful attempts to reach out to Odom. 

--ESPN.com's Ric Bucher argues in the video below that Kobe Bryant's recent scoring outburst was partly an exhibition to prove to Dwight Howard that he still has plenty left in his tank. 

--ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan details how Lamar Odom has dealt with personal trials far more serious than trades. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr details how Pau Gasol and Luke Walton look forward to seeing Odom again. 

--The Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin argues the Lakers don't have a shot at getting true revenge against the Mavericks. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky highlights Mike Brown's hope that the NBA reviews Blake Griffin's push on Darius Morris. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford focuses on the Lakers drawing motivation from being eliminated by the Mavericks in the 2011 playoffs. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's wondahbap highlights Bryant as the Lakers' player of the week. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano reflects on Bryant's performances in the past week. 

Tweet of the Day: "Got to get some rest :) long day tomorrow! I'm excited for the Mavs/Laker game... Night night world! Muah!" -- KhloeKardashian

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "If Lamar wasn't a Maverick now, I'd root for us to simply throw napalm on their entire team and be done with it. I miss Lamar." -- Jon K.

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Mavericks forward Lamar Odom drives against Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka during a preseason game last month.Credit: LM Otero / Associated Press

Five things Lakers miss about Lamar Odom

Here are five things the Lakers are missing in the wake of Lamar Odom's departure:

1. Locker room presence: Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have commanded the most respect among the Lakers in recent seasons. But Lamar Odom was the one everyone felt close to. He has a playful and down-to-earth personality. He genuinely interested in all people. And he has a sense of humor that helped break up the monotony, particularly on the road.

2.Versatility: One of the struggles Coach Mike Brown admits he's facing involves finding the right rotations. NBA StatsCube shows that Brown has used 13 different rotations. I hesitate to read too much into which combination is most effective for two reasons. First, the database hasn't updated the lineups featuring Darius Morris.

Secondly, the most efficient lineup combination technically involves Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Luke Walton and Pau Gasol. Too small of a sample size (12 minutes) and that efficiency would never hold up. Regardless, it would have been easier for Brown to mix and match rotations involving Odom because he is so talented at playing small forward, power forward and center. Regardless of Odom's poor play in Dallas, the void left on the Lakers has resulted in the bench averaging 21.3 points per game, while ranking 26th overall in efficiency.

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Lakers have trouble reaching Lamar Odom

The Lakers' locker room appears less jovial. The team's bench remains at worst unproductive and at best inconsistent. The reality television show cameras no longer are present.

But there is another tangible reminder of how much life has changed for the Lakers without Lamar Odom: Nearly all of the phone calls that Pau Gasol and Luke Walton have made to Odom lately have gone unanswered.

"He doesn't answer his phone," Walton said. "His voicemail is always full."

Odom's relationship with the Lakers organization became strained after the team included him in a three-team trade centered around Chris Paul, a move the NBA rejected. So much so that the Lakers accommodated Odom's request for a trade and sent him to the Dallas Mavericks. But that hardly applies to Odom's former teammates, who look forward to hosting the Mavericks on Monday at Staples Center.

The game marks the first time this season that the Lakers will face the team that swept them in the Western Conference semifinals last season, and it also will be the first time at least for some of the Lakers players that they have talked to Odom for a while.

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Mike Brown compares Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

 

The Times' Ben Bolch notes Mike Brown's belief that Kobe Bryant is more "serious-minded" than LeBron James

--The Times' Ben Bolch notes Mike Brown's belief that Kobe Bryant is more "serious-minded" than LeBron James.

--The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer talks to Brown about how he's adjusting to the Lakers. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr says she believes that Andrew Bynum has a strong chance to make the All-Star team.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer says he loves the story lines surrounding Bryant and James. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky explains why Steve Blake's rib injury severely hurts the Lakers at point guard.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford argues that the Lakers' next three games against Cleveland, the Clippers and Dallas could be emotional. Brown used to coach the Cavs, the Lakers nearly landed Clippers guard Chris Paul and former Laker Lamar Odom was traded to the Mavericks.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell does some number-crunching regarding Bryant's scoring.

--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark argues that the Lakers need Dwight Howard's teammates more than they need Howard.

Tweet of the Day: "The Lakers have just 5 home games in the next 32 days." -- ESPNChrisPalmer (Chris Palmer, ESPN The Magazine NBA writer)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The Lakers need to get themselves a pointguard someone who's going to put the bigs in a better position to score. Kobe contolling the ball takes the effectiveness away from Pau and Bynum. It's great Kobe is scoring lots of points but Kobe is not playing team ball. He's more concern about trying to catch Shaq." -- Ronald A. Mitchell 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers Coach Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lamar Odom's poor play doesn't yet justify trade

Lamar Odom

Upstairs at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo, the front office saw firsthand Lamar Odom's pain and they heard his frustration.

They then predicted something that would prove more disastrous than anything that could play out in any reality show, including "Khloe & Lamar." They figured his play would drop, and soon enough, his market value too. So they traded Odom and a second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for a $8.9-million trade exception and a first-round draft pick.

And the early returns suggest they predicted correctly.

Through seven games, Odom has averaged 6.7 points on 26.4% shooting and 4.3 rebounds, admits he's out of shape and hasn't fully grasped the Mavericks' system. Meanwhile, there are a few things suggesting the Lakers aren't missing Odom as much as originally thought. Free-agent signee Josh McRoberts has nearly matched Odom's scoring average (5.7), while eclipsing him in rebounding (5.7) and field-goal percentage (53.8%). Andrew Bynum's 22.7 points on 62.2% shooting and 17 rebounds partly points to his heavier minutes (32.7) and increased role, two things that Odom's presence may have  diminished. Metta World Peace feels more empowered with a bench role. And then there's of course the $8.9 million the Lakers can still use should they ever make a so-called big deal.

But the Lakers and their fans should view this the same way as investors view the stock market: Don't get bogged down in the day-to-day proceedings and focus on the big picture. If Bynum suffers a significant injury, the Lakers are doomed without anyone such as Odom to mitigate his absence. Who knows the severity of McRoberts' injury on his left big toe? World Peace's initial success as a reserve could prove as flimsy as Kobe Bryant's right wrist. And the whole notion of Odom arriving to training camp out of shape and producing inconsistent performances? Up until last year, everyone expected Odom to do that, yet things always turned out well for him in the end. 

The script simply remains unfinished. Just because the initial episodes seem to be in the Lakers' favor, it still remains highly plausible a disastrous plot twist will ensue. 

RELATED:

Lamar Odom's people skills will be his legacy

Lamar Odom would've gotten over initial trade shock

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Mavericks forward Lamar Odom collides with Miami's Udonis Haslem during a game in Dallas on Christmas Day. Credit: Larry W. Smith / EPA 

David Stern's heavy-handedness already costing the Lakers dearly

David Stern

If only the NBA listened to Phil Jackson.

The Zen Master saw such a doomdsay scenario coming. The NBA owns the New Orleans Hornets and could find itself in a compromising situation should guard Chris Paul demand a trade, he said. But instead of working to ensure the front office had complete independence, the NBA ignored Jackson. As perhaps a way to say thank you, ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reported the NBA then slapped Jackson with a fine.

Perhaps the league should return that fine money to the Lakers, a small concession for all the mess it has created in the past week. The NBA nixed last week's trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers, Lamar Odom to the Hornets and Pau Gasol to the Rockets. And the Lakers remain in shambles in more ways beyond losing to the Clippers in their pursuit toward Paul

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Lamar Odom would've gotten over initial trade shock

Lamar OdomLamar Odom's frustration level remained on boil. The Lakers didn't provide enough time to let it cool.

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.

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