Mavs shed Lamar Odom best they can

Lamar Odom's time with the Dallas Mavericks was a malodorous misadventure. His departure, it turns out, has come up roses -- or at least smelling better.

Thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers hailing from Odom's beloved L.A., and needing a frontline player; and thanks to the Utah Jazz for wanting Mo Williams and his $8.5 million salary for the next season, the Mavs have emerged from the Odom fog having not only shed the player, but also having avoided the $2.4 million cap-space hit while taking back no salary and creating a potentially valuable $8.9 million trade exception. Staying away from the cap hit is key in clearing enough space to accommodate the potential signing of Deron Williams.

"There are definitely advantages from a cap perspective," said Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who banished Odom from the team in early April.

Not bad for five months of are-you-in-or-out misery.

The deal went down Friday, just hours before the deadline to buy out Odom's full 2012-13 salary of $8.2 million for $2.4 million. Had Williams not agreed to opt-in for his final year at $8.5 million with the Jazz, the trade would have crumbled and the Mavs would have scrambled to extend the Odom buyout deadline into July or be stuck with the $2.4 million cap hit.

The Clippers' interest in this deal, and the Jazz's to a lesser extent, was somewhat puzzling. Both helped a conference foe clear cap space and acquire a large trade exception.

L.A., which apparently will pay Odom his full $8.2 million salary, could have waited for Dallas to waive Odom and then negotiate a free-agent contract at a lower rate. ESPN.com's Marc Stein has reported that if Odom did become a free agent then the New York Knicks and Miami Heat would come calling. Neither team, however, has the cap space to offer as much as the Clippers.

And while Odom is a native New Yorker and once played for the Heat, he has seemed to make it quite clear that L.A. is the preferred and perfect fit for him and wife Khloe Kardashian.

If the Clippers saw the deal as a way to shed Williams' contract while simply replacing it with a player at a position of greater need, it would seem shortsighted. Regardless of Odom, L.A. surely could have moved Williams and his expiring contract at some point.

For the Jazz, they get a player at a position already manned by Devin Harris. Williams will give Utah much-needed firepower beyond the 3-point arc, and perhaps the Jazz will seek to move the underachieving Harris with no long-term commitment to Williams. At any rate, the Jazz did bolster their backcourt.

For the Mavs, two Western Conference foes just helped them in more ways than one.