Mar 1, 2012, 2:34 PM EDT
Personal issues surrounding an illness with his father have kept Lamar Odom away from the Mavericks since before the All-Star break.
But it’s more than just that — the entire fit with Dallas has been poor this season. Odom has not seemed happy and he is not one of those players who can compartmentalize his life and game — how he feels off the court bleeds over on the court.
Odom sat down and met with owner Mark Cuban Wednesday to map out his return to the Mavericks and to productivity, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. A return that could happen by this weekend.
While the team was in Memphis Wednesday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban met in Dallas with Odom and his agent, Jeff Schwartz, to work on a timetable that would ease Odom back after his weeklong personal leave, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Cuban has said the Mavs will not buy out Odom’s deal, and befitting a player-friendly owner Cuban has said Odom can have as much time as he needs to work out his personal issues.
If Dallas is going to make any kind of magical playoff run again, it’s going to need Odom. And not this year’s 7.7 points per game on 35.7 percent shooting Odom, either. They need to have last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, 14.4 points on 53 percent shooting, incredibly versatile Odom back. The best player in the NBA at grabbing the rebound and then leading the break. The matchup nightmare.
Odom has not been comfortable this season from the time he learned the Lakers were close to trading him in the Chris Paul deal (that was killed by the league). He is not a guy who can just easily put those kinds of things aside and play. But the Mavs have to find a way to make him comfortable soon.
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