"That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose."
Lamar Odom recently sat down for an in-depth interview with Shams Charania of The Vertical, wherein the former NBA star discussed the highs and lows of his NBA career, what it was like playing alongside the ultra competitive Kobe Bryant, and the trade that sent him from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks.
"That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose," Odom says. "I was never really myself ever again. Being in L.A., the structure, the people I knew, it hurt leaving. I had great memories with the Lakers, with Kobe and Pau. That was a special time in my life."
“I got traded the season after we lost to Dallas in the playoffs, and I had won Sixth Man of the Year for the team. To trade me after winning Sixth Man of the Year … what else do I got to do? Why?
“I think about it all the time, about how much I had left in the tank. I had issues going on. But barring injury, could I play in the NBA today? I could play. I should still be playing.”
Lamar spent his first four seasons in Los Angeles after being drafted by the Clippers with the #4 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, but later returned to Southern California in 2004 for seven consecutive seasons as a member of the Lakers. During his stint with the Lakers, Odom helped the team win back to back NBA title and was named Sixth Man of the Year in the 2010-11 season.
Odom played in only 50 games after being traded to the Mavericks before once again returning to the LA Clippers in the 2012-13 season. He joined the Euroleague shortly after that and his battle with drug addiction, specifically his near fatal overdose at a Nevada brothel in 2015, has been well documented ever since.
In a letter published in The Player's Tribune last month, Odom opened up about drug addiction and the daily struggle to stay sober.
"I’m sober now. But it’s an everyday struggle. I have an addiction. I’ll always have an addiction. It never goes away. I mean, I want to get high right now. But I know that I can’t if I want to be here for my children."
Shams Charania reports that the Los Angeles are now planning on offering Odom a contract with the team again so that he can officially retire with the Lakers. You can check out the full piece here.