Donnie Nelson on Lamar Odom: ‘Like Going to War With Wet Gunpowder’

by April 10, 2012

The nightmarish Lamar Odom Experience finally came to an end in Dallas yesterday, and everyone in the organization says they’re ready to move on. Mavs GM Donnie Nelson described the season with Odom thusly, per ESPN: “From [Mark] Cuban on down, the Mavs kept hoping that would change, wishing that a man with a dozen-year track record of being a good NBA player could actually muster enough pride to play hard for the defending NBA champions. They kept on coddling until they finally came to the obvious conclusion that they couldn’t count on Odom while fighting for their playoff lives. ‘It’s like going to war with wet gunpowder,’ Donnie Nelson said. Yeah, Odom infrequently fired, such as the night that he returned from his bizarre, self-imposed, 10-day midseason sabbatical by actually playing with energy in a win over the Utah Jazz, putting up a nine-point, five-rebound, three-block, three-assist line in 18 minutes and offering false hope that he might return to something close to his Sixth Man of the Year form from last season. But Odom shot blanks on a regular basis — as evidenced by his career lows in points (6.6 per game), rebounds (4.2), assists (1.7), shooting percentage (35.2) and effort (minimal) — and then wondered why the home fans hurt his feelings by booing. It’s the last category, that intangible one, that caused the Mavs’ brass to finally stop hoping and believing that Odom could contribute to their repeat quest. Khloe’s little Lam Lam will go down as one of the biggest disgraces in Dallas sports history because he wouldn’t even do the simplest thing in sports: play hard. ‘Therein lies the decision,’ said Nelson, who still went out of his way Monday to offer Odom’s personal issues as an excuse. Odom’s refusal to do the bare minimum on a regular basis — or maybe inability, if you give him the benefit of the doubt — often sucked the life out of the Mavs. The saga of a moping reality-show star — and at least one teammate wondered whether this was all scripted drama to boost E! ratings — served as a pointless distraction. […] ‘It’s just time to turn the page,’ coach Rick Carlisle said. That’s about all Carlisle had to say about Odom. Cuban had nothing to say at all, and none of the Mavs’ players wanted to touch the toxic topic, with team leaders Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd sneaking out a side door to avoid the media after Monday’s practice. ‘He’s not here anymore,’ Jason Terry said. ‘We won’t know how much we miss him until the season’s over, I guess.'”