The Dallas Mavericks' decision to deactivate Lamar Odom has already sparked rumors of where the lanky forward will end up in 2012-2013.
The Mavs control where Odom plays next, as the club currently own his rights since he was not waived. Odom's current contract calls for an $8.2 million team-option for next season, but given his performace in Dallas, it seems likely that his days with the defending champions are over.
Dallas can either deal him to a team willing to pick up his option year or buy him out for $2.4 million this offseason.
Odom is coming off a difficult season. He averaged just 6.6 points per game and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game for Dallas. Those numbers are career lows by a large margin for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
A return to the Los Angeles Lakers appears to be an obvious move. Most teams are very aware of Odom's reputation of inconsistent play when he is not motivated, and the Lakers might be the only club where the talented big man would feel comfortable.
With Odom on the roster, the Lakers can return to their big-man rotation of Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Having those three players on the squad has helped the Lakers avoid using a legitimate reserve center, as both Bynum and Gasol are capable of operating in the low post.
Odom's former Lakers teammates seem to indicate that they would welcome him back with open arms. One of his replacements in the rotation, Matt Barnes, has not exactly been a force, and Odom still has many friends on the Lakers roster from his seven seasons in purple and gold.
Kobe Bryant is one of Odom's admirers.
It's tough, Bryant said after the Lakers downed the Mavericks last Wednesday night before Odom was released. He comes to a team that's pretty much set, you know what I mean? So it's hard for him to find his niche. The fans, they don't really understand what he does or how he can do it.
I hope they don't unlock that mystery. I know. I know how to use him and to use his skill set and this, that and the other. But with this team, the roster that they had being pretty much set, it's tough for him to be able to find his groove here.
Bryant is not alone in wanting Odom back. Metta World Peace, perhaps the league's most eccentric, player, suggested Odom rejoin the team in a somewhat unorthodox role.
Maybe he can come back and be a ball boy and then next year, come play, World Peace said on Monday. That's what he should do. He'd be the first ball boy in the NBA that can play. Come back; get the towels and next year, play. Why not? He should be a scout. Lamar should be a scout.
World Peace continued his stream-of-consciousness career advice suggesting that Odom should climb Mount Everest or join the boy scouts for the remainder of the season.
In any event, Los Angeles may be the best place for Odom.
The 32-year-old has played 11 of his 13 professional seasons there. His wife, Khloe Kardashian, was born and raised in Los Angeles and would likely prefer to be closer to her famous family.
A Lakers return might be exactly what Odom needs, as well. In a tumultuous career, with highs and lows off the court, his time away from the club probably served as a reminder of how good he had it in L.A.