Kobe puzzled by Lakers shipping Odom to Mavs
The Lakers traded forward Lamar Odom and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday night for a first-round pick and an $8.9 million trade exception, capping Los Angeles' stunning 72-hour breakup with last season's Sixth Man of the Year.
The Lakers and Mavericks reached a swift deal after Odom learned Thursday that Los Angeles was attempting to trade him in a megadeal for New Orleans superstar Chris Paul.
After the NBA blocked that trade, Odom declined to report to the Lakers' opening day of training camp on Friday. Odom then requested a trade in a meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak, and the Lakers improbably swung a deal with the rival Mavericks, who swept Los Angeles out of the second round of last season's playoffs.
"Lamar was a fine player for us in his seven years with the Lakers and was a key to helping us win two championships," Kupchak said in a statement. "In addition, he always conducted himself with class and professionalism, and we wish him well in the remainder of his career." Neither team formally acknowledged the deal until Sunday night, but both teams knew all about the surprising transaction when they reported for training camp practices that morning.
"To be honest with you, I don't like it," Kobe Bryant said. "It's tough to lose Lamar. 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.
Bryant and Derek Fisher led a chorus of confused anger from the Lakers, who have no idea what their front office is planning just two weeks before the season opener. Los Angeles is thought to be working on a deal for Orlando center Dwight Howard, but the trade exception obtained from Dallas could be only a minor part of any potential deal.
"As a basketball player, it confuses you as to what your focus should be," Fisher said. West says he's a Pacer
David West said he has agreed to play for the Indiana Pacers and is looking forward to joining a club with a good mix of talented veterans and budding young players. West's agent, Lance Young, said the two-year deal is worth $20 million. The Pacers have not yet announced the free-agent signing. West, a two-time All-Star who was drafted 18th overall by New Orleans in 2003, started 70 games for the Hornets last season, averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a victory at Utah on March 24.
The 31-year-old had reconstructive surgery on April 12 and opted out of a deal 21/2 months later that would have paid him $7.5 million with the Hornets this season.
Blazers sign vet Thomas
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed 16-year NBA veteran center Kurt Thomas. Terms of the deal were not announced. At 39, Thomas is the NBA's oldest player. The former Knick played last season with Chicago, averaging 4.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 52 games, including 37 starts. -- AP