Sure if Lamar Odom was shipped away to gain Chris Paul and championship leverage maybe this could be easier for the Lakers fans to swallow, but even that trade with Pau Gasol seemed to leave the Lakers depleted. David Stern was right – it was unfair. It almost seemed like the Lakers were giving up too much and two players too many. Then with the commissioners collapse of the trade the Lakers were left with some collateral damage to their cohesiveness.
Because of hurt feelings the baited trade left in Lamar Odom, a new trade was demanded at his request to be cast-out. Now the Lakers have lost him for nothing but a trade exemption. Sure this opens up the cap space and doors for Dwight Howard, but surely the Lakers could have amnestied someone else to help keep their roster in shape.
Losing Odom not only costs the Lakers versatility, it also narrows their playing field. Lamar’s all-round game opened up the Lakers offensive playbook and court in a way like no other. Now that he’s gone the Lakers are a Bynum or a Gasol injury away from losing their formidable frontline. Sure Dwight Howard may bring the perfect smiles back to Hollywood, but Odom’s loss clearly reveals that this team needs more work done. It’s not just about one guy and this sixth man really backed his team up to the core. There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’ and now there’s no ‘L.O.’ in ‘Los Angeles’. Gone are his career close 14.4 points per game and 8.7 rebounds from last year to go with his career highs in three-point (.382) and field goal (.530) percentages. Also gone, beyond statistics, are his above average all-round game, his scoring, passing, range and long limbs that reach all sorts of off-ball fundamentals and facets. Also his class, charisma and great locker room presence will be sorely missed.
As he enters the halls that Mark Cuban built Odom brings more dimensions to a team that already has more than a geometry class. Odom’s numbers may go down in the talent pool lassoed by the Mavericks, but his productivity and intangible output should not. His championship experience, both on the winning and losing end, will be as valuable a commodity as his inspiring character and positivity now mixed with a new tonic of motivational revenge. Odom was exactly the player that the Lakers needed to take their squad from a Kobe show to an ensemble piece back when he was traded for Shaquille O’Neal. He even went from easing the Lakers post-Shaq hurt to proving that in the long run it was the more worthwhile move. But is it now? Now that those 2006 school adverts mocking him getting traded again have come true, Odom may be exactly the player this new winning Dallas team needs to help them towards their own dynasty.
Sure the Lakers are far from out of contention, and just like Lamar they have a new motivation to win. Add a Dwight Howard or a Chris Paul and the numbers may add up to initializing some new success for these new Lakers. It’s just a real shame that a man that stuck by them and helped them along the way will not continue down the road with the purple and gold. Yes the Lakers can go on without Lamar Odom, but you can be sure they’ll never be able to replace him.