Jason Kidd can relate to Lamar Odom

DALLAS -- If Lamar Odom wants an empathetic ear, all he has to do is walk over to Jason Kidd’s locker.

Kidd understands the challenges of trying to fit in with the Mavericks on the fly while dealing with great expectations. He went through it after returning to Dallas in a blockbuster 2008 deadline deal with the Nets.

It’s a distant memory now that there’s a championship banner hanging in the rafters, but you might recall that Kidd’s second stint in Dallas was far from an instant success. The Mavs were mediocre the rest of the season, which ended with coach Avery Johnson being fired a day after a one-and-done, five-game postseason appearance was finished.

A popular opinion at the time was that the Nets ripped off the Mavs, making a financially-friendly deal that delivered Devin Harris to Jersey. History won’t be so harsh on Mark Cuban and Co., considering Kidd has a shiny new championship ring and Harris has changed addresses, coincidentally returning to Dallas tonight with the Jazz.

So Kidd gets what Odom is going through, at least from the perspective of trying to fit in with an established Mavs team. His message to Odom: We’re here to help.

“We just need him to play his game,” Kidd said. “It’s going to take some time. I was in the same position. You want to make sure you don’t step on anybody’s toes. He has to understand that we’re all here for him. We want him to be successful.”

When does Odom stop worrying about stepping on toes and just start playing his game? Kidd insists that it’s not that simple.

“It’s easier said than done,” Kidd said. “When you look at the talent in this room and all the battles he’s been in on the other side, you just want to fit in. We need him to be him. Again, it’s just time. Unfortunately, with the shortened season, we don’t have a lot of time.”