Lakers jettison Odom to Dallas
The Lakers traded forward Lamar Odom and a second-round draft pick to the Mavericks last night for a first-round pick and an $8.9 million trade exception, capping Los Angeles’s stunning 72-hour breakup with last season’s Sixth Man of the Year.
The Lakers and Mavericks announced the deal three days after Odom learned Los Angeles was attempting to trade him in a megadeal for New Orleans superstar Chris Paul.
After the NBA blocked that trade, Odom declined to report to the Lakers’ opening day of training camp Friday. Odom then requested a trade, and the Lakers improbably swung a deal with the rival Mavericks, who swept Los Angeles out of the second round of last season’s playoffs.
Earlier in the day at training camp in El Segundo, Calif., Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant questioned the wisdom of dealing Odom to one of Los Angeles’s biggest rivals.
“To be honest with you, I don’t like it,’’ Bryant said before Odom’s deal had become official. “It’s tough to lose Lamar.’’
“Pau [Gasol] is still here, and we’re all thankful for that. It’s hard when you’ve been through so many battles with players to just see them go somewhere else. Especially to them.’’
“We were supposed to come back and get them back. It’s tough . . . Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don’t think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade.’’
Bryant and Derek Fisher don’t know what to make of their front office’s aggressive pursuit of Chris Paul followed by an apparent change of focus toward Orlando center Dwight Howard, who has requested a trade from the Magic, after the NBA blocked a megatrade for Paul on Thursday.
“As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be,’’ Fisher said. “I’m very disappointed and frustrated for [Odom and Gasol].’’
Although Bryant expressed his faith in general manager Mitch Kupchak, he would have preferred to have Odom on board as the Lakers regroup from last season’s failed attempt at a threepeat.
“You’re talking about the Sixth Man of the Year,’’ Bryant said of Odom, who averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3 assists last year. “He played lights-out. I don’t understand the criticism of reality shows and this. I don’t get that. He had his best season, clearly wasn’t a distraction, played his [rear] off. I don’t get where that comes from.’’
Even Odom’s contract is a good deal for his employers: He will make $8.9 million this season in the third year of a four-year deal, which can be bought out next season for a modest amount. The Lakers’ trade exception means they can acquire a player making Odom’s salary or less without the usual complications, but it would be only one part of a hypothetical deal for Howard or another star.
With this chaos on top of the usual amount of drama surrounding the high-profile Lakers, new coach Mike Brown is planning for a season with no idea who will be in his lineup in two weeks when Los Angeles hosts the Bulls in their Christmas season opener. Gasol and fellow big man Andrew Bynum went through their third day of workouts not knowing whether they would have a chance to use all this new information.
“If I’m here, I’m looking forward to the season,’’ said Bynum, who knows he’s rumored to be the main component in any proposed deal for Howard. “If they were able to pull a move like that off, it would be great for the organization, and I’d be in Orlando hooping.’’
Whether the Magic and Howard wind up parting ways remains to be seen. The All-Star center participated in his third practice yesterday, but said afterward he hasn’t spoken with Orlando general manager Otis Smith about where the progress of his request stands.
Howard had acknowledged for the first time Saturday that he asked for the Magic to trade him. Smith previously granted the Nets, Mavericks, and Lakers permission to talk to Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, about possible deals.
“My job is to be professional,’’ Howard said. “If I’m here with the Magic for the whole year, the next five years, I’m going to continue to give everything I’ve got every night.’’
Warriors sign Jordan
The Warriors signed center DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers to a restricted free agent offer sheet. A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the offer sheet is a $42.7 million, four-year deal. The Clippers have three days to match the offer.
Jordan averaged 7.1 points and 7.2 rebounds in 25 minutes per game last season.
The Warriors also waived guard Charlie Bell under the new amnesty provision, and rescinded their qualifying offer to forward Reggie Williams.
Bell never reported to training camp. Authorities said he showed up intoxicated at a Thursday court date for a drunken driving arrest in Michigan. Bell already is facing a one-game suspension without pay after pleading no contest to reckless driving in California.
Knicks get busy
The Knicks signed veteran guard Mike Bibby, re-signed forward Jared Jeffries, and inked their two draft picks. With guard Iman Shumpert and center Josh Harrellson also signing, the Knicks’ roster is at 11 players. Most of their moves were on hold while they worked to complete a three-team trade Saturday that brought Tyson Chandler from Dallas to New York. Bibby could replace Chauncey Billups, who the Knicks used the amnesty clause to waive so they could afford Chandler’s four-year, $56 million contract . . . The Suns re-signed forward Grant Hill to a one-year, $6.5 million contract and signed guard Sebastian Telfair and first-round pick Markieff Morris. Hill, 39, averaged 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 80 games last season, his fourth with the Suns and 16th in the NBA . . . The Trail Blazers signed 16-year veteran center Kurt Thomas to a one-year contract. Thomas, 39, played last season with Chicago, averaging 4.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 52 games . . . Former UConn star Kemba Walker, the ninth pick in the draft, signed with the Bobcats.