Dealing Lamar Odom is tricky

Dallas could make deal with either Los Angeles team, but there are pitfalls

Updated: June 27, 2012, 8:49 PM ET
By Larry Coon | ESPN Insider
Lamar OdomRocky Widner/Getty ImagesBy Friday, the Mavericks must figure out what to do with mercurial Lamar Odom.

Lamar Odom is still a Dallas Maverick. But for how long?

The forward was a fixture on the Los Angeles Lakers as recently as December, but he and his representatives asked for a trade when they learned that the Lakers had intended to send him to the New Orleans Hornets as a part of the scuttled deal for Chris Paul. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak quickly found a taker in the Mavs, who acquired the 2010-11 sixth man of the year in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

Odom's season in Dallas can only be described as disastrous. He averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game while shooting .352 from the field -- all career lows. The Mavs left him on the inactive list for the final nine games of the regular season. He was not with the team for the playoffs and was not voted a playoff share by his teammates.

Now team owner Mark Cuban and GM Donnie Nelson need to figure out what to do with him.

The Mavericks are trying to clear room under the salary cap for this summer's free-agent market, with Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams widely regarded as their principal target. Odom will be on the books for $8.2 million next season, but only $2.4 million of that is guaranteed. If the Mavs waive Odom by Friday, the remaining $5.8 million comes off their cap. If Odom is still with the team Saturday, his entire salary becomes fully guaranteed.


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Larry Coon is the author of the NBA Salary Cap FAQ.