Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks because Odom asked to be dealt. Kupchak said he, team owner Jerry Buss and team executive Jim Buss “went back-and-forth about it,” but agreed to grant Odom’s wishes when Odom’s agent called Saturday and asked that his client be sent elsewhere. Kupchak said he and the Buss family were in agreement to do the deal.
“To have waited two or three weeks would have just prolonged an environment with Lamar that … would have sucked energy away from the team and we might not have had a better opportunity,” Kupchak said of pulling the trigger so quickly.
“Lamar is probably more sensitive and more emotional than most people, in particular our players, and it’s a plus more than it’s a minus, but in this case he couldn’t get over the fact that something like that could take place,” Kupchak added.
“I spoke to him Thursday or Friday, and I was hoping things would change in a day or two. But I spoke to his representative, he called me on Saturday and said it’s not going to change and he wanted to be traded and we worked together to find a spot that would give us the most flexibility going forward.
“There are a lot of teams in the NBA that would take a player like Lamar and you could probably do it in a day, but you would probably have to take back players and you might not like the players you’re getting back and there might be long commitment’s going out. … That’s not something we were interested in doing.
“All that does is handicap us going forward.”
Kupchak said the Lakers can use the first-round draft pick and the $8.9 trade exception it got from Dallas to strengthen the team down the road. He also said he “expected” Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to be here for the rest of the season, but didn’t rule out making deals involving Bynum or Gasol. Bryant has a no-trade clause.
In addition, Kupchak said he didn’t expect to use the amnesty clause to kick a bad contract to the curb by Friday’s deadline. Candidates on the roster could have been Metta World Peace, Steve Blake or Luke Walton. All three will be on the roster.