- Free agent forward Lamar Odom reportedly has checked himself into a rehabilitation center. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
UPDATE: TMZ.com is now reporting that Odom has not checked himself into rehab. Per TMZ's report, Odom has simply dropped off the grid, to the point that even his wife has not heard from him.
The veiled, uncertain status of Lamar Odom seems to have been given a bit of clarity. According to People.com, Odom -- who had been the subject of much rumor and reporting in recent weeks -- has decided to check himself into a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol abuse. From People's report:
"He realized he needs help," a source says of the NBA free agent and husband of reality star Khloé Kardashian Odom.
TMZ reported in late August that Odom had gone "missing," while connecting the dots between his disappearance and an alleged drug problem. Jeff Schwartz, Odom's agent, refuted the claim that he had "vanished," via Marc Stein of ESPN.com, with the following statement:
"Lamar is not missing. His wife knows exactly where he is."
ESPN.com also reported in August that Odom's friends were "trying to get him help for an unspecified drug problem." Speculation and rumor were fueled further when Odom was arrested last Friday morning on DUI charges in California. From CBSLA.com's report on the arrest:
“One of our officers observed a white Mercedes SUV driving eastbound on the 101, approaching Sepulveda. The vehicle was weaving in the lanes, driving at approximately 50 miles per hour,” Officer Ming Hsu told KNX 1070.
Officers pulled Odom over around 3:25 a.m. after he exited the freeway at Coldwater Canyon Boulevard. He was arrested after he showed “objective signs or symptoms of intoxication and was unable to perform field sobriety tests as explained,” Hsu said.
TMZ.com reported additional details of the incident:
He was pulled over on the 101 Freeway for going too slow -- 50 MPH. Cops say Odom had been driving in a "serpentine manner."
Lamar initially did not respond to cops, and drove 3 exits before finally coming to a stop. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ he showed obvious signs of intoxication. Lamar failed numerous field sobriety tests. When Lamar was booked, we're told he refused all chemical tests.
Odom was reportedly released on $15,000 bail.
The 33-year-old Odom is an unrestricted free agent after spending last season with the Clippers, with whom he averaged a career-low four points and 5.9 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game. Odom has spent 12 of his 14 NBA seasons in Los Angeles, including five years with the Clippers and seven years with the Lakers, with whom he won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Jordan Farmar, one of Odom's teammates from his Lakers days, says (via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com) that he and several others have reached out to Odom recently with no response:
"It sucks to hear," Farmar said in a phone interview this week when asked about the string of misfortunes following Odom these days, from alleged drug use to an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.
"It's unfortunate. A couple of us have reached out to him and haven't heard back. That's just a sign of him going through some tough times."
In the 2010-2011 season, Odom played a crucial role for the Lakers and was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year, but has since seen his career go off the rails. In December 2011, the Lakers traded Odom to the Mavericks after reports of a dispute with management. His drop-off on the court from then on was stark and immediate, and at the time went largely unexplained. The value of this skilled, versatile forward vanished with his arrival in Dallas, where he played 50 underwhelming games before essentially being told to remain home. Prior to his dismissal from the team, Odom was reportedly confronted by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the locker room:
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, saying he hopes Lamar Odom's departure is "addition by subtraction," confirmed that a heated halftime confrontation between the owner and 13-year veteran was the breaking point that prompted the team and player to part ways.
... Cuban confirmed Tuesday evening the crux of the heated halftime confrontation was Cuban questioning Odom's commitment. Odom, who had played only four minutes in the first half, reacted angrily to the question, shouting "stop playing games" several times. Odom did not take his seat on the bench until after the third quarter began.
"Well, yeah," Cuban said when asked whether that exchange was the final straw. "Just his response to it. Everybody goes through ups and downs. Every player does. We tried to put him in a position to succeed. You guys saw it, saw what we did. It didn't work.
"And I just asked him, does he want to go for it or not? Is he in or is he out? I think he thought we were playing poker. I just didn't get a commitment. And that was the end."
Odom was such a no-show for the Mavs that his teammates in Dallas reportedly voted to withhold his share of the team's playoff bonus.
The following offseason, he was unloaded to the Clippers in a four-team trade that netted the Mavs no real basketball assets in return. Odom was able to provide some value in Los Angeles with his passing and defense, but his production was a mere fraction of what he offered during his time with the Lakers.