Mavs Donuts: Lamar And Dirk The Hallway

Tuesday marked Lamar Odom's first game at the AAC since his inglorious departure. It started with boos being showered down on him from DFW fans. In the middle came an important 109-102 OT win for the Mavs. But at the end? was there at the close of the night for a quiet, private interaction between The Worst Mav Ever and The Best Mav Ever. Lamar and Dirk meet in the hallway in Donuts.

DONUT 1: Now, have no doubt. We've turned the page.

We're ready for Omar the Barber and his beard-clippers and we're ready to bone up on tonight's Pacers-at-Mavs game, too.

But this look back, we think, is instructive.

In case you need a refresher on Lamar Odom's brief history with the Dallas Mavericks, here is a quick timeline of the events that surrounded his time in DFW.

*December 11th 2011: Odom was traded from the traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks for the trade exception that the Mavericks acquired after losing Tyson Chandler to free agency.

Odom had just recently been traded to the New Orleans Hornets in the Chris Paul trade that was rescinded by the NBA. Reports said that the nixed trade damaged the relationship between Odom and the Lakers hence their willingness to trade him for so little to a Western Conference rival.

*December 25th 2011: Odom showed up with the Mavs out of shape and unmotivated after the lockout extended offseason. In his debut with the Mavericks, a 105-94 loss to the Miami Heat, Odom shot 1-6 and scored four points, and collected four rebounds, one assist, one steal and two turnovers in 13 minutes.

*April 10th, 2012: The Mavericks parted ways with Lamar Odom.

Odom's conditioning issues and, more importantly, lack of commitment, continued throughout the season. After numerous chances to make right with the organization, Odom was asked by the Mavs to stay away from the team. Odom was listed as inactive on the team rather than actually being released.
DONUT 2: The exiled Maverick was still able to collect over $7 million despite his inability to commit himself to the team. He took a sabbatical in LA to tend to his father's alleged tummy ache.

When he did show, he frequently showed up late despite living literally a matter of yards away from the AAC, having headquartered at the W Hotel. (Here's our first-hand account of him strolling in late to work on the day before his dismissal.)

DONUT 3: All along, he made excuses with such frequency that our Mike Fisher finally discussed in detail with Lamar whether maybe he was using his family tragedies as a shield against criticism, producing this memorable story.

DONUT 4: Shortly thereafter, Mark Cuban claimed that the move to dismiss LO was "addition by subtraction."

*June 29th, 2012: Odom was traded to the Clippers where he was able to return to his hometown of Los Angeles along with his celebrity wife, Khloe Kardashian.

DONUT 5: Fast forward to now:

Odom as a member of the Clippers has finally been able to lose weight and has been a relatively productive member of Los Angeles' bench. Odom was supposed to be the sixth man for a Mavs team last season that was supposed to have one of the deepest rotations in the NBA. We all know how that turned out.

All of this has combined to leave Mavs fans quite bitter towards Odom coming into Tuesday's game.

And they -- you -- had no problem voicing that displeasure.

DONUT 6: Odom entered the game for the first time with just over four minutes left in the first quarter and was greeted with a thunderous level of boos. And it didn't stop there. Every single time that Odom touched the ball throughout the game he had equal volume of boos showered down on him.

DONUT 7: After the game we caught up with Odom to get his reaction to the crowd.

"I've played in really hostile environments all my life,'' he said. "It's just sports. That's what we love about sports too…. That's how it's going to be in the playoffs for everybody."

While playoff basketball is certainly intense, it's probably safe to say that every player in the playoffs won't get the treatment Odom received Tuesday night from Mavs' fans.

Odom had a relatively productive game by his standards recording six points and six rebounds in 19 minutes of an exciting 109-102 victory by the Mavericks.

DONUT 8: And in our Video Visit package, we included Odom talking about basketball. As Fish noted in Wednesday's Donuts, we've lost patience with Odom in terms of him talking as if he has a "BS in Philosophy. But basketball talk is allowed:

DONUT 9: It might also be worth taking a second look at the claim that Odom has supposedly "recommitted" to basketball since leaving the Mavericks and joining the Clippers.

It's true that the Mavericks' got next to nothing out of Odom when he was on their roster, but it would be an exaggeration to say that the Clippers have gotten all that much more.

In fact, Odom is actually averaging only 4.1 points per game this season compared to 6.6 with the Mavericks. He is also averaging an almost identical amount of minutes per game (20.4 this season and 20.5 last season).

It's true that Odom has lost weight, but it should be noted that he once again showed up to training camp out of shape and had to lose the weight as the season progressed. It's probably not accurate to say that extra motivation caused him to lose the weight. The fact of the matter is that it's next to impossible to play two consecutive seasons in the NBA out of shape if for no other reason because you will find yourself out of the NBA despite your own wishes.

DONUT 10: The one thing that has improved this season is Odom's rebounding. He is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game this season compared to 4.2 last season. Prior to the game, Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro agreed that this is the deepest team that he has ever coached and credited Odom's rebounding as a big part of the bench's success.

But it's safe to say that the biggest change with Odom is a commitment to the team's success. You can see it by his teammate's embrace of him. When Odom made a three-point play in the second quarter the entire Clippers' bench erupted despite the boos raining down on him.

DONUT 11: Clearly Odom's head was not in basketball during his time in Dallas. Perhaps there were personal reasons for that, but that's not an excuse. Odom was paid like a professional and he was expected to act like a professional.

DONUT 12: One of the most dramatic moment of the night came in addition to O.J. Mayo's game-tying shot at the end of regulation, and in addition to the actually winning of the game. In fact, it was just past 12:30 in the morning when the AAC was almost all cleared out.

Odom was walking the corridors of the AAC without any teammates and just one Clippers employee alongside him. Just down the hallway, Dirk Nowitzki was engaged in a conversation. I watched the two worlds about to collide … or at least, to interact.
As Odom came closer Nowitzki's focus strayed from his conversation and he locked eyes with Odom. And in that very moment, two huge smiles came across both men's faces and loud greetings were heard followed by a handshake and hug.

Remember, these two men conflicted so last year that was among the outlets reporting that there was an angry confrontation in the locker room in Memphis (due to Dirk being sickened by Odom's lack of hustle.)

Odom's saga here may have seemed like an unforgettable travesty to all of us, but one thing we can learn from Tuesday night: Dirk's idea of revenge isn't to avoid a handshake with a noxious ex-teammate.

It's to score a season-high 33 points against the guy and his new team.

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