In a stunning demotion, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year is set to play in the NBA Developmental League.
Lamar Odom, who starred last season for the Lakers, was demoted by the Dallas Mavericks to their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, and is expected to play at least one game for the team.
He will debut Saturday night against the Austin Toros, meaning he will miss at least two more Mavericks games.
Odom has been away from the team for the past four games to deal with a family issue.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Odom went home to Los Angeles because his father was ill, but it soon became apparent the health issue was not as serious as the first reports from the team indicated.
The Mavericks have explained the unprecedented move as a way for Odom to "get his legs back" before returning to the team.
The 6-foot-10 power forward, who stars on a reality show with wife Khloe Kardashian, is in the midst of his worst season as a pro, averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds and shooting 35.7 percent. He has clearly looked uncomfortable with Dallas, who acquired him in a trade shortly before the season started.
The Lakers originally tried to trade him in a deal to acquire point guard Chris Paul before the NBA stepped in to reject the trade on behalf of the Hornets. Upset over the team’s attempt to trade him, Odom said he did not want to return to the Lakers, and he was instead sent to Dallas.
The 32-year-old had reportedly considered sitting out the season following two offseason tragedies. In July, he was in New York to attend the funeral of his cousin when the car he was riding in hit a motorcycle, which struck and killed a 15-year-old boy who was walking nearby.
"I guess he told you guys he was actually thinking about taking the whole year off," Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said Friday. "So obviously it was a lot deeper than people, I guess, expected, so it is what it is.
"He’s a good guy to me. He’s always fun to be around in the locker room and always got jokes. He’s rapping constantly, free-styling. I guess he’s just working through some personal stuff."
The defending-champion Mavericks, who are 21-15 this season, play at New Orleans on Friday and host Utah on Saturday.