Mavericks Won't Buyout Lamar, Will Remain Patient
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Lamar Odom did not report back to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday and coach Rick Carlisle did not give a timetable for the forward's return.
Odom left the team last Wednesday to attend to his ill father in Los Angeles, a source confirmed. Odom missed the Mavs' loss to his former team, the Lakers, and apparently won't be in uniform when Dallas resumes the regular season at home Tuesday night against the New Jersey Nets.
"Lamar is not here today," Carlisle said Monday. "He is still dealing with a family matter and the hope is he'll join us soon, and we'll update you when there's an update."
Amid rumors that Odom might not return to the Mavericks and a midseason buyout could be a possibility, owner Mark Cuban told ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon via email Monday night: "We haven't discussed a buyout and we wouldn't do a buyout. No chance that happens at all. We want to help Lamar work through any personal issues and expect him to be a valuable contributor to the Mavs this season. Players go through challenges from time to time and we try to be (an) organization that fully supports our players when things are challenging for them. We will do the same for Lamar."
Two sources with knowledge of Odom's thinking told ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Monday night that -- while the 32-year-old admittedly did briefly ponder retirement during the offseason following the death of a younger cousin -- Odom wants to keep playing despite his season-long struggles.
Guard Rodrigue Beaubois did return to the Mavs on Monday. The third-year guard missed the last five games after the death of his father.
Odom has had a disappointing two months in his first season with the Mavs. He had trouble overcoming the death of his younger cousin last summer and reported to the Mavs admittedly out of shape.
He has averaged 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 32 games. He won the league's Sixth Man of the Year award last season with the Lakers having averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds.
After three hopeful games in which Odom averaged 11.0 points on 13-of-25 shooting and 3.9 rebounds, Odom followed up in his final three games before the All-Star break with a total of 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Carlisle expressed optimism Friday during his weekly appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co." that Odom was getting close to turning a corner.
"I think we're closer than we've ever been to him playing well," Carlisle said. "We've just got to stay the course and stay positive about it. The guy's too good of a player and ... he has two bad games in a row and everybody's ready to jump again, but I'm not going there.
"I'm looking forward to getting him back after the break, and we're going to get right back at it. These nine games in 12 days will completely immerse all of us, and we won't have time to think twice about anything, so we're just going to play."