Kobe needs divorce from soft sidekicks

One day before the start of the Dallas Mavericks’ five-day All-Star Weekend break, Lamar Odom bailed on a chance to play against the Los Angeles Lakers on national television.

Family Matters. Not Steve Urkel. Not Carl and Hariette Winslow.

Nope. We’re talking family matters, which in all likelihood means Lamar was in Los Angeles while the Lakers and Mavericks battled in Dallas because of something to do with Khloe Kardashian, Lamar’s reality-star wife.

Bart Scott voice: Can’t wait!

Can’t wait to hear the Mavericks and Odom fully explain what was so urgent in Los Angeles that Odom couldn’t wait 12 to 24 hours before starting his All-Star vacation. Professional athletes, like a lot of responsible people, work through and around many family emergencies. Short of death and the birth of a child, most professionals show up at work and do their jobs to the best of their abilities, even in times of personal crisis.

I hope that Odom has a good reason for skipping Wednesday’s contest, a five-point Lakers victory. I hope Odom didn’t skip the game for the same reason he’s mentally and emotionally skipped most of this season — a broken heart.

Odom has been whining and loafing ever since the Lakers purged his contract by giving him to the defending champion Mavericks. Odom just can’t muster the courage and energy to suffer through an NBA season playing away from the Kardashians, his reality TV set and Kobe Bryant.

A season after winning the NBA’s sixth-man award, Mr. Kardashian’s scoring and rebounding numbers have fallen in half. He’s averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Mavericks. Instead of seizing an opportunity to be the key ingredient in Dallas’ bid to defend its title, Odom has chosen to sulk and brood and hide.

He wants to move back to LA, and he apparently is willing to withhold his services in an effort to make it happen.

The Lakers dumped him, and, citing family matters, Lamar declined the chance to exact revenge in a nationally televised game.

Are you kidding me? Did Jordan skip games against the Bulls? Did Favre pass up a chance to play the Packers? OK, Lamar Odom is not Jordan or Favre. Kyle Orton took his shot against the Broncos and Tim Tebow. I bet Jeremy Lin will relish his chance to play against his hometown Golden State Warriors.

Family matters. You have to grow a pair to start a family, Lamar.

The same is true for Pau Gasol. For a 31-year-old, 11-year veteran, he’s doing way too much whining about being on the trading block.

It’s just not that difficult. Let me share a secret with Pau and Lamar. Most people work some place where they’re not appreciated, not valued and, perhaps, not even wanted. Real men (and women) make do. It’s like a marriage. You fake it for the sake of the kids.

You think Kobe’s not faking it with all this mumbo jumbo about wanting Pau to stay and being upset Lamar was let go?

In Kobe’s mind, everyone on the roster except Andrew Bynum is expendable, and Bynum is expendable if Dwight Howard is available.

Kobe is frustrated because general manager Mitch Kupchak is taking too long to surround him with the right pieces to make a run at title No. 6. Kobe wants a real point guard far more than he wants Pau Gasol to stick on the roster. Kobe was done with Derek Fisher the moment the ink was dry on the horrendous collective-bargaining agreement.

Kobe is an assassin. He discarded Shaquille O’Neal, one of the 20 greatest players of all time. And you think Kobe gives a damn about Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, two of the most mentally soft players in the league right now?

Have you forgotten it was just last year that Gasol went into a funk over rumors about his girlfriend and Shannon Brown? Kobe hasn’t forgotten. Kobe is leading the league in scoring while going through a divorce.

Yeah, I don’t blame Lamar for missing Kobe. And I don’t blame Pau for being scared to death of leaving Kobe’s protective cocoon. Lamar and Pau don’t have Kobe’s lower guts. They’re sidekicks who enjoy gravy-training off Kobe on the court and living the Hollywood life off it.

Family matters. Kobe’s in the market for a new one on and off the court.