Kobe Bryant on Lakers Trading Lamar Odom to Mavericks: ‘I Don’t Like It’

Kobe Bryant on Lakers Trading Lamar Odom to Mavericks: 'I Don't Like It'EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Even Kobe Bryant can't figure out why the Los Angeles Lakers are trading Lamar Odom to one of their biggest rivals.

"To be honest with you, I don't like it," Bryant said Sunday when the Lakers showed up for their third day of training camp knowing their top reserve probably will be shipped to the Dallas Mavericks for nothing but a trade exception.

"It's tough to lose Lamar," Bryant added. "Pau [Gasol] is still here, and we're all thankful for that. It's hard when you've been through so many battles with players to just see them go somewhere else. It's tough."

Neither team formally announced a trade early Sunday, but Dallas coach Rick Carlisle and star Dirk Nowitzki both essentially confirmed the deal, acknowledging their excitement about adding Odom to the defending NBA champions' roster without losing a player in return.

Odom wasn't at the Lakers' training complex Sunday, and his teammates aren't thrilled to know he's probably on his way to Dallas, which swept the Lakers out of the second round of the postseason last spring.

"Especially to them," Bryant said. "We were supposed to come back and get them back. It's tough. … Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don't think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade."

Bryant and Derek Fisher don't know what to make of their front office's aggressive pursuit of Chris Paul followed by an apparent change of focus toward Orlando center Dwight Howard — who has requested a trade from the Magic — after the NBA blocked a megatrade for Paul on Thursday. Odom didn't attend the Lakers' first two days of practice after the team attempted to include him with Gasol in that three-team trade for Paul.

"As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be," Fisher said. "I'm very disappointed and frustrated for [Odom and Gasol]."

Although Bryant expressed his faith in general manager Mitch Kupchak, he would prefer to have Odom in camp as the Lakers regroup from last season's failed attempt at a three-peat.

"You're talking about the sixth man of the year last year," Bryant said of Odom, who averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3 assists while playing in all 82 games last season. "He played lights-out. I don't understand the criticism of reality shows and this. I don't get that. He had his best season last year, clearly wasn't a distraction, played his [butt] off. I don't get where that comes from."

Odom starred in a reality show last season with his wife, Khloe Kardashian, clearly enjoying his celebrity at the main intersection of sports and Hollywood. Kardashian tweeted obliquely about her excitement when news of the apparent trade surfaced Saturday night.

Even Odom's contract is a good deal for his employers: He will make a modest $8.9 million this season in the third year of a four-year deal, which can be bought out next season for a modest amount. The Lakers' trade exception means they can acquire a player making Odom's salary or less without the usual complications, but it would be only one part of a hypothetical deal for Howard or another star.

With this chaos on top of the usual amount of drama surrounding the high-profile Lakers, new coach Mike Brown is attempting to plan for a season with no idea who will be in his lineup in two weeks when Los Angeles hosts the Chicago Bulls in their Christmas season opener. Gasol and fellow big man Andrew Bynum went through their third day of workouts on Sunday not knowing whether they would have a chance to use all this new information.

"If I'm here, I'm looking forward to the season," said Bynum, who knows he's rumored to be the main component in any proposed deal for Howard. "If they were able to pull a move like that off, it would be great for the organization, and I'd be in Orlando hooping."

Lakers forward Matt Barnes has been in contact with Howard, his former teammate in Orlando. Barnes said he doesn't need to sell Howard on the Lakers.

While Odom stayed away from the Lakers, Gasol reported to the team despite the possibility of his imminent departure. He remains hopeful he'll stay in Los Angeles, but the four-time All-Star no longer knows what to think about his near future.

"I understand this is a business, and it's become more of a business than a sport nowadays," Gasol said. "It hasn't been extremely easy to be calm and quiet and not think about the different possibilities. But I'm still here, and I'm thankful for that."

Yardbarker

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