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The sad return of outcast Odom

Updated: 2012-01-18 07:50
( China Daily)

The sad return of outcast Odom

The Lakers' Kobe Bryant (left) smiles after looking back at Dallas' Lamar Odom during Los Angeles' win on Monday. [Photo/Agencies]

Los Angeles - Lamar Odom still isn't over his breakup with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he doesn't care who knows it.

Odom returned to Staples Center on Monday as a visitor, filing into an unfamiliar locker room just down the hallway from his longtime home.

Although Odom knows he played a role in his own departure, he's still uncomfortable with the results of the bizarre saga that sent him to the Dallas Mavericks last month in a hasty trade.

"It was a little surreal walking into the building and a little surreal to be in here," Odom said, looking around the cramped visitors' locker room. "But it's time to play and help my team win. I've got to kind of get that first one out of the way." Odom got a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the game as a reserve in the first quarter. The Lakers honored him during the ensuing timeout with a video tribute and a scoreboard message: "THANKS for the memories LAMAR".

Although Odom appeared touched by the ovations, he didn't make any grand gestures. He still produced some of his best minutes with Dallas, leading all scorers with seven points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer. Odom finished with 10 points in Dallas' 73-70 loss.

The 13-year veteran is off to a shaky start in Dallas, posting some of the lowest numbers of his career.

"Mostly, I was unprepared for the whole situation," Odom said. "But I'll get there. It'll happen."

Odom acknowledges his pride was punctured when the Lakers attempted to trade him and Pau Gasol shortly before training camp in a three-team deal for New Orleans point guard Chris Paul. After the NBA nixed the deal, the Lakers said Odom demanded to leave, which Odom doesn't deny.

Los Angeles traded him to Dallas three days later for a trade exception and a draft pick. His former teammates were perplexed, with Kobe Bryant insisting Odom would have gotten over it if the club had waited.

"That's my guy," Odom said of Bryant. "We've been through some wars together, so it feels good to hear people talk about you like that. We had some good times."

The Associated Press

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