After a quick shuffle of third parties, the Mavs again appear ready to jettison Lamar Odom’s contract westward (and in a way, homeward); as originally reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News – and later clarified by Brad Turner of the LA Times – Dallas will deal Odom in a four-team trade that will also move Mo Williams to Utah and the draft rights to Furkan Aldemir to Houston, while scoring the Mavs a trade exception, cash, and an additional $2.4 million (the price of an Odom buyout) in sweet, sweet salary cap savings.
That brings the total savings of the past 24 hours to (roughly) a cool $3.8 million, between ditching Odom, trading Kelenna Azubuike, and saving on the rookie scale difference between the 17th pick and the 24th pick. There’s no need to hash out the specifics of the Mavs’ cap number until we get a better idea of what might become of Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and a slew of minimum salary players that currently have cap holds against Dallas’ total, but we have the pleasure of watching first-hand as Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban take their quarters to the free-agent slot machine.
It’s still a bit strange that Odom became salaried flotsam in Dallas, but little more needs to be said on his situation considering the words already wasted and the breaths already spent. The arrangement just wasn’t meant to work, and so it didn’t; the Mavs move on, Odom moves on, and so should everyone else. Where Lamar ended up is a point of little consequence from a Maverick perspective, as the important thing is that Dallas’ one-year experiment didn’t impede — even slightly — their other efforts this off-season. Now that Odom’s salary has been moved completely off the books, we can finally claim that to be the case.
Based on the aim that the Mavs have taken, they have no choice but to embrace an incredibly narrow focus. There is nothing, at present, but the prize and the means to obtain it. There is no disappointment in an underwhelming player — just $2.4 million in cap space for a team that needs every bit of salary allowance it can get. There is no lackluster draft haul — simply the acquisition of three young prospects with a minimal cap hit. There are no individual moves to consider — only the furthering of a plan and process, all for the sake of building the team anew.
Cross your fingers, implore the heavens, or make your animal sacrifices. Sunday is when things get interesting, and when the payoff for that plan and process becomes fantastically — or crushingly — tangible.