I would love to have heard the phone conversation between Mark Cuban and Lamar Odom a few days ago. CUBAN: Hey Lamar, sorry to hear about how things went down in LA. The Lakers wanted to trade you and Pau to get an overrated point guard. What were they thinking? ODOM: If you called to gloat, man, just stop. CUBAN: No, actually, I wanted to remind you that you need to report for practice in 48 hours. I booked your flight to Dallas. ODOM: Excuse me? CUBAN: You're a Maverick now. Welcome to the team. ODOM: Wait. What? How did that happen? Who did LA get? CUBAN: Nobody. ODOM: Nobody? CUBAN: Not a single soul. Isn't that hilarious? ODOM: How did that happen? CUBAN: Apparently, there's a teeny-tiny footnote in the new collective bargaining agreement. It states that if a team ever sweeps another team in the playoffs, next year you get one of their best players. ODOM: For real? CUBAN: Nah. I'm messing with you. I gave them our trade exception. ODOM: How does a trade exception work? CUBAN: I have no frickin' idea. No one really knows, but I printed the exception on shiny paper with gold foil inlay. Jerry Buss really wanted one. ODOM: So, that's that? CUBAN (laughing uncontrollably): The Lakers gave us the sixth man of the year! ODOM: Your laughter scares me. Please stop. CUBAN (still laughing): Sorry. It's just so sad. The Lakers are so, so stupid. ODOM: I'll see you next week. Stop laughing. I'm hanging up now. CUBAN (finally regaining control): Okay, okay, bye. I promise you'll love playing for the Mavs. I feel lucky. I'm going to call Orlando again.
While I hate losing Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler (see last post), I would say the addition of Vince Carter and Lamar Odom is a nice consolation prize. Is it possible that our roster is even stronger this year? (Assuming Haywood can be a reasonable replacement to Chandler.) Simultaneously, our west coast rivals just hobbled themselves further. It may be premature, but if the Spurs are actually on the decline (I have my doubts) and the Lakers continue to be their own worst enemy--the Thunder may be our only true competition to reaching the '11-'12 Finals. Including the preseason games, we play the Thunder four times within a month. Those games will be very telling.
The irony is almost disturbing. Lamar Odom's last act as a Laker was to get ejected from game 4 against the Mavs for his shove/hit/love tap against Dirk Nowitzki. And now, he's on our team. Let's hope that our team therapist can help with any issues that arise. It cannot be easy to be Lamar Odom right now. All the same, we're happy to have you.
As a side note, J.J. Barea must really hate the Mavericks for not giving him a larger offer if he's willing to play for the Timberwolves -- a team that seems to love collecting point guards. This year's free agency period is an odd one. Players get an inflated sense of their own value. Barea was a useful role player in a good system. However, he was hardly a priority in our off-season. Sure, he could become the next Steve Nash, but I have my doubts.
Let's not dwell. Welcome Lamar Odom.