Mar 7, 2012, 1:40 AM EDT
Mark Cuban has worked hard to change the culture around the Dallas Mavericks into a place players want to be. A place where they are comfortable and can thrive in part because they know management has their back.
It hasn’t worked that way for Lamar Odom — he has not played well since coming to Dallas in a trade before the season and some teammates are questioning his commitment to the team — but Cuban still has his back. That concept is at the heart of what he has built in Dallas, he is not going to change that for one player having a rough season.
Here is what Cuban told ESPNDallas.com.
“I’m not worried about that at all,” Cuban said before the Mavericks’ game Tuesday night against the New York Knicks…
“(Cuban met with Odom in Dallas before his return) Because you’ve got to deal with things,” Cuban said. “The goal is to solve the problem, not to look good. I can’t tell you how many times players have been concerned about other players. That’s just the nature of the beast. As I said, I’ve been through it a lot of times. I’ve got to try to put together a plan and stick through it in those cases. That’s exactly what I did.”
Cuban can think Odom is fully committed to basketball and Dallas if he wants, but Odom’s focus has always wandered. It did when he played for Phil Jackson, the best coach ever at reading what a player needed and trying to give it to him to make him comfortable and play well. Behind that Zen mystique was a coach better than any other at taking the distractions of the world out of the locker room so guys could focus on playing. And even in that environment Odom was inconsistent. It will be no different in Dallas.
What you see from Odom is what you get. He will have brilliant games, he will have bad ones, and you just hope for more of the former.
Through it all in Dallas, you can be sure that Cuban will still have Odom’s back. Because it’s those kinds of intangibles that players consider when choosing where to play as a free agent.
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