LA Lakers: Why Lamar Odom Should Not Return to Los Angeles

Talib BabbCorrespondent IJune 19, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Dallas Mavericks warms up for the game with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first game at Staples Center after being traded by the Lakers, on January 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Lamar Odom struggled like none other in the 2011-2012 season, mentally, emotionally and physically. Which is why the Los Angeles Lakers should not pick him back up.

Odom averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds a game as a Dallas Maverick last season. That is significantly down from his 14.4 points and 8.6 rebounds a game average the previous season with the Lakers.

It was evident that Odom was never committed to playing as a Maverick. His production and effort was so useless, that the Mavericks thought it would be better if he stayed away from the team.

A big reason why the Lakers should not pursue Odom is because he was the one that wanted out. Once the Chris Paul trade was originally a go, Odom and Pau Gasol were clearly crushed that they were leaving and that is understandable. However, when the trade was then blocked, Odom was not able to restore his motivation to play as a Laker.

Odom asked to be traded because he felt like he was not wanted. Gasol felt the same pain, but he was able to hang in there and remain with the organization. Gasol was able to average 17 points and 10 boards throughout the swirling trade rumors all season. Gasol has a bad reputation for being soft, but that showed his toughness mentally. Mental toughness that Odom did not display when times got rough. 

Odom's lack of mental toughness was a recurring theme throughout the season. He never was able to work and find his role with the Mavericks all season. At one point he was sent down to the D-League to play so he could "get his legs back." When has a former Sixth Man of the Year ever been demoted to the D-League the very next year?

Another concern for the Lakers to consider is this: Does Odom really want to be in Los Angeles to be a Laker or to be a reality TV star? His reality show with his wife, Khloe Kardashian could be a distraction and just add to the circus the Lakers already have in town. Metta World Peace and Andrew Bynum already cause enough media attention throughout the season, do they really want more controversy?

Odom will be 33 years old at the beginning of next season. It is hard to expect a veteran at that age to return back to his old self after coming off the worst season of his career. If Odom were able to revive his career in a Lakers uniform, it would be a miracle.