Tagged: lamar odom

Mark Cuban takes plantation owner approach with Lamar Odom

I usually try refraining from making analogies between slavery and professional sports, but there are moments like this one where the connection is to obvious to ignore.  Speaking on his fallout with Lamar Odom Mark Cuban recently declared:

“Did I get my money’s worth? No,” Cuban said. “I don’t know that the word’s ‘cheated.’ But did I get my money’s worth? No.”

I blame both Cuban and ESPNMavericks mouthpiece Tim McMahon who is clearly on Cuban’s side and apparently has his own disdain for Odom, for these comments.  Cuban is ultimately responsible for making them and not being sensible enough to realize that his employees are not interchangeable widgets.  McMahon is also to blame because fails to display a hint of reflection, which might have enabled him to realize that Cuban’s comments are insensitive if not downright crass.

Blast From The Past: Nike Freestyle Commercial

It’s amazing to think that at one time Darius Miles was considered the future of the league and people were actually debating whether he would evolve into a better overall player than Kevin Garnett.  Still, one can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic watching Miles, Lamar Odom, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, Jason Williams and Vince Carter at the peak of their fame.

Rasheed Wallace & Lamar Odom

Jay Caspian Kang and Bethlehem Shoals posted two thoughtful pieces on Rasheed Wallace and Lamar Odom respectively today.  Both articles are reflective and treat both players with a poignancy that they’re rarely availed in print.

Below are excerpts from these two essays:

Jay Caspian Kang, Person of Interest: Rasheed Wallace

You can’t be an NBA fan without building up a straw man or two. Just as the SABR nerds shake their fists at something called “Murray Chass,” which, in truth, may or may not exist, the generation of basketball fans who grew up with Iverson and the Fab Five have built their own golem: the crusty old sportswriter who hates hip-hop, only lionizes white players, talks mostly in racial euphemisms, and truly believes, in his heart, that four years in college is God’s greatest gift to mankind. Rasheed, even more than Iverson, became the hero for young NBA fans who wanted their players to stonewall the golem with, “Both teams played hard, my man.” He was the liberated, talking man in a league obsessed with the creation of relatable, worldwide brands.

 

Bethlehem Shoals, Why Lamar Odom Gets Away With It

At this point, Odom stands as much for that flicker of humanity, that trace of sympathy or identification in the climate of pro basketball, as he does one of the most memorably gifted players of the last decade. Odom doesn’t have baggage. He’s the one who, simply by walking into a room, reminds us that we all do. It’s not the portend of reality show drama, but the right he has earned to take things personally in a sport where business conquers all.

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Lakers Get Chris Paul

Again, can someone please remind me what was the purpose of this lockout?  Did we really need to delay the start of the season a month and a half for the Lakers and Knicks to make the first big free-agent splash.  Right on the heels of the announcement that the Knicks have signed Tyson Chandler comes news that the Lakers have a deal in principle for Chris Paul.

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers, Rockets and Hornets have agreed to a three team trade that sends Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic to New Orleans.  Pau Gasol will go to Houston.  And Chris Paul will go to the Lakers.

As lethal as a Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant back court might sound, I cannot help but wonder that the Lakers might have given up too much size.  Then again, Ron Artest did play some power forward during his time in Indiana, so there’s a chance he could slide over there when the Lakers go small.  Still, giving up Gasol and Odom means that LA has a lot of confidence in Andrew Bynum, which remains to be seen whether this is indeed warranted.

On the other hand, is it just me or do the Hornets now look a lot like the Rockets?  With Scola, Odom, and Dragic, New Orleans has a lot of solid players, but no one that really wows you.  It will be interesting to see how long Odom stays.  He could very well get Amnestied and make his way back to LA.

Finally, I know some will consider it sacrilegious that I don’t pray at the altar of Daryl Morey, but I don’t see how this trade helps Houston other than shedding some salary.  I’m not sure I get the logic of trading Scola, Dragic and Martin for Gasol.  This appears to be a lopsided trade in favor of the Lakers, and one that is made worse when one considers that Houston is actually helping not one, but two of their conference rivals improve.

 

Photo: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA derivative work: Edgars2007 (Jermaine_O'Neal.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Is Jermaine O’Neal a Hall of Fame Player?

A few weeks back I made a case for Amare Stoudemire as a future NBA Hall of Famer.  Hoops Hype’s Chris Tomassonrecently took things a

,
Photo: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA derivative work: Edgars2007 (Jermaine_O'Neal.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
step further and handicapped the Hall of Fame oddsfor some of the association’s top stars.  I am virtually in agreement with Tomasson on all points.  There’s no denying that Kobe, LeBron, KG, Jason Kidd, and Tim Duncan are among the handful of locks for the Hall of Fame.

And for the most part where we disagree the differences are marginal.  Here’s his take on Stoudemire for example:

Amare Stoudemire: OK, he doesn’t rebound. But the pressure of playing in New York hasn’t messed with his scoring average in the slightest. After having joined the Knicks, Stoudemire averaged 25.3 points last season, the second-best mark in his nine-year career.

and here’s mine

Stoudemire has clearly distinguished himself as one of the best power forwards of his generation.  With career averages of 21.9pts and 8.9reb for his career, Stoudemire ranks somewhere between Kevin Garnett and Zach Randolph. He’s  garnered more accolades, and led his team to the playoffs more than Randolph, but he’s nowhere near the rebounder and defender that Garnett is, and has therefore been lapped by Garnett in terms of All-NBA honors.

Neither of us have Stoudemire getting in on the first ballot at the moment, but I think his chances are slightly better than Tomasson gives him credit for.

The lone major disagreement that I have with Thomasson’s list is in his long shot category where I think he’s being too generous in including Gilbert Arenas and Jermaine O’Neal.  It’s hard to argue for the inclusion of Arenas while omitting Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler.  Butler not only teamed with Arenas during Arenas’ most successful seasons in Washington, but he eventually went on to win a ring with the Dallas Mavericks.

Similarly, I think Lamar Odom now has a better shot entering the Hall of Fame than Jermaine O’Neal.  Odom will have at least two rings with the Lakers on his resume and he will be remembered as one of the more versatile players of his generation.

All in all Tomasson’s list makes great fodder for debate.

HoopsHype.com NBA Blogs – Chris Tomasson » The future Hall of Famers.

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Should NBA Players be Allowed to be Part Owners of Their Teams?

One of the causes for this current NBA labor dispute is the inability of small market teams to remain profitable.  A soft cap that was tied to a luxury tax incorporated into the previous collective bargaining agreement has not generated the kind of revenue sharing between small and big market teams that the league imagined.  Instead of a level playing field, teams such as the Knicks, Lakers and Mavericks have been able to spend as they see fit for the best talent available, or in the case of the Isaiah Thomas era Knicks, the most dysfunctional talent available.  Owners and players alike agree that changes are needed, but the two sides are miles apart on exactly who should bear the brunt of responsibility for these changes.

I’ve long been an advocate of contraction, something unlikely to occur.  Now I would like to offer another prescription for the NBA’s economic woes.  It’s time that the league consider abolishing the rule that prohibits active players from becoming part-owners of a team.

Comprised of about 400 players the NBA is a small league compared to its counterparts Major League Baseball and the National Football League.  NBA players are more recognizable than their peers in other sports and a dynamic player is infinitely more capable of transforming a team’s fortunes in terms of ticket sales and victories.  Think about how many promising young quarterbacks whose careers were derailed because they played behind poor offensive lines.  Compare that with the sellouts enjoyed by the Raptors at the Air Canada Center during Vince Carter’s tenure even though most of those Raptors’ squads were middling at best.  Fans flocked to see Carter play in ways that NFL fans in say, Carolina, would never flock to see David Carr–or Indianapolis fans to see Peyton Manning were he not leading them to the playoffs year after year.

The NBA is as much a white shoe law firm as it is a sports league.  NBA players are key revenue drivers, or to continue the law firm analogy, NBA players are the ones who bring in the clients (fans) to the arena.  One way that law firms retain their top lawyers is by making them partners.  Law firms do this not only as a way of acknowledging the work done by a particular attorney, but to also ensure that they don’t strike out on their own as their client lists build up.  And in turn, lawyers accept these offers to become partners because it saves them the costs that they’d incur if they started their own firms.  Under the current system NBA teams provide their attorneys (the players) with a great platform to build up their client rosters (i.e. endorsement deals) but can’t offer them anything beyond a higher salary when a player decides he wants to take his services elsewhere.

Take last year’s LeBron saga.  One of the supposed drawbacks to staying in Cleveland was that LeBron could make more money in endorsements by signing with the Knicks or Bulls.  More endorsement money for LeBron didn’t necessarily translate to more revenue for the Cavaliers, and vice versa, continued high octane ticket sales also wouldn’t translate to more money for LeBron.  Did it really make sense to limit the Cavs to being able to pay LeBron as much as Atlanta paid Joe Johnson?  LeBron is infinitely more valuable to the Cavs than Joe Johnson is to the Hawks so why should he be held to the same standard?

What if Cleveland had been able to offer LeBron a 3% ownership stake in the franchise, a 5-10million dollar cash investment in his branding firm LMR, and HR/back-end support for all of LMR’s ventures as long as LeBron remained a Cavalier.

Granted, there’s no guarantee that LeBron would have taken this offer, but if such a deal had been on the table, it would have made things more interesting.  After all would Miami have been able to afford LeBron, Wade and Bosh if Cleveland and Toronto had been able to extend such lucrative options to their marquee players.

Who knows, maybe LeBron works out a deferred compensation package with Cleveland, and lures Joe  Johnson or Ray Allen to help him in his quest for the title.

As it stands now the current NBA salary structure is incapable of really addressing a player’s value to a particular team or franchise.  The problem isn’t that Gilbert Arenas or Rashard Lewis make 17million dollars a year.  No, the problem is that teams are hamstrung in their ability to appropriately compensate the players who are its economic engines. Moreover, teams continue to see every player simply as an employee when clearly there are a handful of players who are not simply employees, and for whom an argument can be made that they deserve to be partners in their respective franchises.   Its unconscionable that Kobe Bryant wasn’t consulted by the Lakers before they decided to hire Mike Brown.  Bryant didn’t deserve to have the final say, but he did deserve to have a say, as did Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for that matter.

But maybe Bryant prefers to be a Laker employee and would rather not integrate his other ventures with the Lakers brand.  There are other players, namely Dwyane Wade, who has shown an interest in being a manager and recruiting talent for their teams.

Ironically, the biggest drawback to this proposal is not that it would create another salary-tier among players but rather that given the financial straights of many NBA franchises a player is better off simply accepting the max-contract than venturing into an ownership stake.  Really, would you flock to become part owner of the Kings right now?

 

bill plaschke

What Was Bill Plaschke Smoking? Odom & Bynum for Dwight Howard?

The Lakers should trade Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom for Howard and J.J. Redick, and they should do it now, and before you start crying over spilled centers, stuff a black knee brace in it and let me explain.

via Bill Plaschke: It’s time for Lakers to recapture some magic and trade for Dwight Howard – latimes.com.

Either Bill Plaschke is the world’s biggest homer or he’s out of his mind?  What real advantage does Orlando have in trading Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. Even if you believe that a Howard for Bynum trade is an equal one, Orlando would be embarrassing itself by trading its current franchise center to the organization that stole their previous one.  If Orlando were to make this trade it might as well sign on to being the Lakers D-League affiliate

But my real problem with this trade is the addition of Odom.  What sense would it make to have Lamar Odom and Hedo Turkoglu on the same team. I know Otis Smith loves redundant talent, but having Odom, Turkoglu and Ryan Anderson on a team without a bruising power forward is David Kahn level absurd.

Normally when columnists suggest hypothetical trades they usually try to give an earnest look for both teams’ perspectives.  For this one however, Plaschke must’ve hijacked some Lakers’ fan’s pipe dream.

 

Photo via Getty Images

How Dwyane Wade Went From The Three Amigos to the Big Three

Miami’s current “Big Three” bears an uncanny resemblance to another trio that captivated Miami Basketball not too long ago.  No I’m not talking about the Shaq, Dwayne Wade + ____ that won the title in

Photo via Getty Images

2006.  I’m referring to the trio of Wade, Lamar Odom and Caron Butler that led the Heat to a surprising playoff run in 2003 before losing to the Pacers in the semifinals.

Back then Odom, Wade and Butler weren’t referred to as the “Big Three,” but they were as promising and talented of a trio ever assembled.  One can even argue that their skills are more complementary than Miami’s current trio.  Neither Butler nor Odom dominate the ball as much as Lebron does which gave Wade free reign to create off the dribble.  Odom is a better outside shooter, passer and ball-handler than Chris Bosh, which helped in spacing and creating easy baskets for Butler and Wade.  And while Butler is not as good as Lebron, his low-post skills made it easier for him and Wade to co-exist in the two-man game, and helped make up for the Heat’s lack of inside scoring.

Their ability to co-exist on the court aside, it was clear that this group got along really well, and led by their young trio, Miami seemed poised for playoff success for years to come.  While the trade for Shaq proved successful in yielding a championship, it hamstrung the organization financially, they went from being young and promising to old and decrepit, and a team that was on the verge of dominating their division for years to come, suddenly morphed into a one and done championship contender. It would’ve been pointless for Wade to orchestrate a reunion with Odom and Butler this off season so he settled for James & Bosh as a consolation prize.

Now that he’s decided to give this “Three Amigos” thing another shot, Wade has his eyes set on creating the dynasty that was denied him earlier in this decade.  Having established himself as  one of the best (if not the best) playoff performer in the league, and now he’s flanked by the best all-around player in the league.  Wade has quietly turned Lebron into a more offensive-minded Scottie Pippen, and Chris Bosh into Horace Grant 2.0. With the NBA Playoffs set to kick off, the stage is now set for Wade to show the world why he did what he did last summer.