“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,” Odom said in a statement released to ESPN.
“I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.”
Odom, 32, is averaging a career-worst 6.6 points on .352 shooting with the Mavs, coming to Dallas from the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal for a first-round draft pick and an $8.9 million trade exception. He originally was traded by the Lakers to New Orleans for Chris Paul, but NBA Commissioner David Stern nullified the trade.
Odom leaves the Mavericks immediately and will be listed as inactive for the rest of the season. The Mavs retain his rights, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports, and could trade him after the season in connection with the draft. However, a team would have to buy out his contract for $2.4 million by June 29 or owe him $8.2 million for next season.
Oddly, Odom’s reality show with wife Khloe Kardashian was one thing that wasn’t a problem. “That really was a very secondary type thing,” Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson said. “As you know, there's no one that understands media more than our owner [Mark Cuban] does. That's never been an issue.”
In late March, Odom did not play for the first time in his career because of a coach’s decision. He took a personal leave in the middle of the season and, at one point, Coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavs would “find out very quickly where things are at. He's going to have to show us with his actions and attitude that he's in.”
He wasn’t, and now a difficult season ends. Odom’s heart never seemed to be in the game after an offseason in which his cousin was murdered and he was a passenger in an accident in which a teenage cyclist was killed. Although he won the Sixth Man award last season, he had done little to prepare for this season during the NBA lockout and considered retiring. Then the Lakers succeeded on their second try to trade him.
“I guess it was just time from their standpoint,” Odom said at the time of the trade to Dallas. “I guess they just felt like, ‘To hell with it.’ ”