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Phil Jackson reached out to Lamar Odom to help

Jan 16, 2012, 4:16 PM EDT

Lamar Odom AP

Things are not going well for Lamar Odom, on or off the court. Things were bad enough off the court he considered taking a year off — and that was before the Lakers tried to trade him. It was his wife Khloe Kardashian that encouraged him to get back out there.

Off the court issues reflected on the court with him not being mentally or physically ready for the start of the season. The man who was the sixth man of the year last season is averaging just 6.8 points per game. His PER has gone from a borderline All-Star 19.4 to a D-League level 7.4.

Now, Monday night, he heads back to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers.

It’s been hard to watch if you like Lamar (I’ll admit, I have a soft spot for the guy). Which is why Phil Jackson reached out to him, reports ESPNDallas.com (via KD at Ball Don’t Lie).

“He told me just to be strong and get myself together and get myself in that place mentally where I can use basketball as my sanctuary,” Odom said. “He said relearn to do that through meditation and other forms to get to a place where you kind of leave everything else behind and focus on the now, the moment. And that’s what I have to work on in order to put myself in a place where I can go out here and actually play the game like I used to play it.”

When people talk about how coaching at the professional level is really about managing people more than Xs and Os, this is example No. 1. Odom is a guy who thrives when he feels comfortable and accepted, so the Lakers trying to trade him (even for Chris Paul) hurt him. He didn’t want to go back, but then there is a whole new period of adaption in Dallas that is still going on.

Phil Jackson was a master at reading people and helping them get what they needed, so that basketball could be just about basketball. He is easy to play for that way. Rick Carlisle is certainly a good coach as well, but he is just learning about Odom. And learning the hard way at times.

But as Dallas starts to win and Odom starts to get comfortable, his versatility is really going to help that team.

Going back to the Staples Center… we’ll see how he deals with that.

  1. goforthanddie - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    I wonder if he and the wife use the same feminine hygiene products, because he surely is a whiny pussy.

  2. Tom G - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Lamar wouldn’t speak with Phil unless the cameras were rolling and Khloe had approved the script.

  3. beagle11 - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    He should reach out to Mike Dantoni

  4. namriverrat69 - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Hell, he should reach out to Richard Simmons!

  5. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    If Odom gets back to his Sixth Man of the Year form, the Zen Master would have done it again..

  6. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    If Odom gets back to his Sixth Man of the Year form, blame it on the Zen Master..

  7. anilyzerr - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Honestly… I mean, I don’t want to badmouth anybody, and I do hope he gets his head together or gets focused or motivated or whatever…

    But what we are seeing just basically confirms the doubts the skeptics have had about Odom for years–that as a Laker he was inconsistent, was oftentimes just kind of “going through the motions”, was lacking in explosiveness at the rim and was way overrated as some sort of ballhandler “point forward” or whatever.

    Phil Jackson’s system made great use of him, and he was semi-effective most of the time as a cog in the machine… although Laker fans were continually complaining that in crucial game situations another, more conventional player could’ve found a way to do more, to score more effectively or make the big stop for example. I mean, some of the missed layups from two feet away, for example some situations that occurred in the 2008 Finals loss to Boston… were just brutal, and it’s pretty obvious that just a good solid above average PF like McRoberts would’ve just thrown it straight down in the same situation.

    I for one was really interested to see what Odom’s play would look like outside of the green “comfort-zone” of the Lakers, Phil Jackson and the Triangle. Especially on a Dallas team where, presumably, you have to be more of a self-starter or whatever. So… these excuses now being made… are unexpected but… as sad and depressing as they are… I tend to think that they are just excuses.

    When the season started in Dallas he (and everybody else) was saying “Oh yeah, the Lakers will be sorry they made that trade.” And “Ooooh yeah, get ready for another trip to the Finals and another Title.” and “Oh yeah, can’t WAIT to start balling with the Mavericks. Title here we come!”

    Nobody was saying “yeah… I’m out of shape, haven’t played in months, almost gave up the game, just not myself anymore…”

    I mean this just is what it is, right? It’s what’s on the court that counts. I find it fascinating and I want to see how all this plays out.

    • anilyzerr - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      I mean, I think everybody wants to see Odom play well and thrive and do good on Dallas. And again, what’s being said about his situation is really sad, and there’s just no way around that.

      But, leaving aside the personal narrative or the psychological aspect of all of this, just in terms of basketball Odom has a lot to prove as a Dallas Maverick.

      What annoyed me was that after the trade it seemed like EVERYBODY in the media was clamoring to say that the Lakers were completely done because they had traded Odom, that they were no longer contenders, had traded away the heart and soul and one of their very best players, some kind of Pippen or something… and realistically that was just complete hogwash. I always thought that it was necessary to move him so that they could transition to the new system, for several reasons, that it was addition by subtraction. And they got a 1st round pick, which is great.

      Still… everybody started off trashing the Lakers… they’re done. “amnesty Kobe” and all this complete idiocy. “Rebuild, they have no chance.” “without dwight, they are nothing.”

      etc etc etc. It really gets back to dissing Kobe I think… and the reality of all this is gonna smack some people in the face I think… again, what day does Kobe drop the 100 on some team this year?

      • anilyzerr - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM

        Now, I’m not going to sit here and endlessly belabor this point, or just say “I told you so”, “I told you so”, over and over and over.

        But I think it needs to be said, and it should be obvious, that everyone in Dallas who was saying the Odom trade was a big coup for them, all the media who said that the Odom trade spelled the end of the Lakers championship dynasty or their title contention this year, and even a lot of the fans in LA who said that the trade was one of the worst trades ever in the history of the NBA… all had one thing in common:

        They all DRASTICALLY underestimated how good and how valuable Kobe Bryant is and how awesome of a coach Phil Jackson is, and really overestimated Odom’s value and importance to the Lakers.

        All talk of reality shows and manufactured stardom aside, Dallas really F’d themselves out of the Dwight sweepstakes by trading a valuable 1st round pick and a $9M trade exemption to the Lakers for Odom, who saved $36M this season and next in salary and luxury tax, and actually improved by signing McRoberts and Murphy. So… it doesn’t get more in your face than that.

        goodnight now!

      • xeno75 - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        The Mavs pick is worth just about nothing. It’s protected and the Mavs can choose when they give it.
        Trade exceptions run out unused more often than not, so that’s Not very valuable either.
        And why would having Odoms contract keep them from signing Howard? They can buy it out for cheap or just trade him away.

  8. mrsdestinydevine - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Ok, cue the violins and give this dude some kleenex! Like for real Lamar, for real! No, here is the issue you spent all summer filming a Kardashian Wedding, and thought you know what I’m a Laker for ever, they wont ever trade me! Now look at you. Do us all a favor and MAN UP! Ok, I’m out of shape, I need to get myself back into shape and spend alot, ALOT, of time on the court before, after, and in between games to get my self back to where I was while I was a Laker. Stop coming up with all these lame excuses. And stop messing up my Mavs team!!!

  9. 24thesho - Mar 23, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    Lamar is very good player and seems to be a nice guy but I do think that the reality show with is wife has been or is contributing to his lack of focus; starting from the NBA Finals last season; Pau Gasol let those issues distract him, also.
    The Kardashian world seems to have that affect on the boyfriends and fiances that were on the show. Kris Humphries saw the light early and got out…., quick! Humphries has been playing fairly well ever since, it seens.

  10. wayne1693 - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    Call me ‘Stupid’ if you like…but what were his off-the-court issues?

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:17 AM

      Early in his career he was considered a guy who liked to light up off the court. A lot. You can decide for yourself if his marriage is an issue.

      • wayne1693 - Apr 3, 2012 at 7:32 PM

        Thanks!!! But was there any more specific problems with him before this Season started?

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