NEW ORLEANS -- Lamar Odom was only deactivated by the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, not waived, and it would be too late for the Los Angeles Lakers to sign their former Sixth Man of the Year in time for the playoffs anyway, had he been waived.
Those technicalities didn't stop Odom's childhood friend and former Lakers teammate Metta World Peace from devising a plan to bring Odom back to the purple and gold, however.
"Maybe he can come back and be a ball boy and then next year, come play," World Peace said with a cat-that-ate-the-canary grin on his face following the Lakers' 93-91 win over the New Orleans Hornets 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."
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Odom's departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13.
World Peace, who knows a thing or two about unhappy endings after requesting a trade out of Indiana following the fallout from the 2004 "Malice at the Palace," said Odom's departure could have been worse.
"Everybody involved has done great things," World Peace said. "From (Mark) Cuban, to Rick Carlisle to Lamar, so they all know what's best. The main thing is what's best for the Dallas organization, starting with Mark Cuban, and then I'm sure Carlisle was consulted and then you got Jason Kidd and Dirk (Nowitzki), so that was probably the best thing that they can do for their organization. The good thing about it is it was just a departure. That's awesome. It wasn't like it was any stories like arguing with the coach or nothing. That's always good when you can end a relationship, maybe not on a good note, but on a decent note. That's always good."
World Peace said he has not spoken to Odom recently, but went on a classic stream-of-consciousness rant about Odom's career options moving forward, perhaps channeling the part of him that chose to embark on a stand-up comedy tour during last summer's NBA lockout.
"Lamar should just like for one month, just be a Boy Scout and wear the outfit," World Peace, taking the joke a step further. "Just have fun. You're getting paid."
He was then asked, What kind of merit badges would Odom earn?
"It would probably something that had to do with candy ... Skittles ... It would probably taste good," World Peace said. "Sweet. Edible. I guess."
As a reporter started to ask a question about the Lakers' pivotal game against the San Antonio Spurs coming up on Wednesday, World Peace interrupted the query to continue with the rant.
"What's the biggest mountain in the world?" World Peace blurted out. "(Odom) should hike it. He should go hike it. Do something that's never been done."
A reporter pointed out that Nowitzki had spent the summer after the Mavericks' 2007 first-round playoff upset against the Golden State Warriors hiking the Bavarian Alps.
"He hiked a big mountain?" World Peace asked.
No, just mountains, the reporter replied.
"The big one," World Peace said. "I'm talking about the big one. Dirk, he ain't hiking that big mountain. He ain't going on the big one. I'm going on the big one."
And with that, World Peace was ready to answer questions about the Spurs.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.