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Lamar Odom says trade from Lakers ‘ended career and purpose’

Lamar Odom gave a revealing interview to The Vertical about his basketball career, his personal troubles, and his upcoming retirement as a Laker.

Going into the ’11-’12 season, Lamar Odom was coming of a Sixth Man of the Year award, but was traded from the Lakers to the Dallas Mavericks for cash exceptions and a first-round pick.

One of the running lighthearted jokes about Lamar Odom’s career was that he could only play in a coastal city, but it turns out that the fact that his career precipitously fell apart after the trade was due to much deeper issues.

Odom told Shams Charania of The Vertical about that trade,

“That trade from the Lakers basically ended my career and purpose. 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 [Bryant] and Pau [Gasol]. That was a special time in my life.”

The NBA is a fickle business and anyone can be discarded suddenly, but Lamar Odom is clearly a thoughtful and sensitive dude and that trade had him rethinking everything,

“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?”

To that end, Lamar thinks he can still ball. He’s obviously dealt with a bunch of serious emotional and substance issues, but he’s still only 37 years old and the current landscape of the NBA is perfect for Lamar Odom’s singular skill set.

He told Shams,

“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.”

Odom will sign a one-day contract with the Lakers and retire in an honorary gesture used by many sports teams these days.

The former Laker point forward said that he’s not really that emotional about the retirement thing, but he just wants to make his family happy.

“My family looks forward to me retiring as a Laker more than me. I’m not really emotional about being praised, about signing for a day. I’m shy at the end of the day. For my son, for my family, for my fans, they may enjoy that day. It’s for them… It’s always good to be back around the Lakers’ facility. There’s nothing but good memories, besides that trade.”

Lamar Odom is an interesting and thoughtful guy who has been through a lot in a very public spotlight. It’s good to see him in a healthy and happy place.

Read the full article over at The Vertical.