Lamar Odom pleads no contest to DUI charge in California, avoids jail
Free agent forward Lamar Odom pleaded no contest Monday to a DUI charge in California, according to the Associated Press. He was sentenced to a probation term of three years and must undergo three months of alcohol abuse treatment.
The AP reports further details of the agreement, which keeps Odom out of jail.
In a deal with prosecutors, Odom entered the plea to one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and was also ordered to pay $1,814 in fines and penalties, Los Angeles city attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan said. Odom had faced a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
Odom previously pleaded not guilty to the charge back in October. He was arrested in August on DUI charges for allegedly weaving in and out of traffic in a white Mercedes. After refusing to take chemical tests, he was released on bail shortly after the arrest.
The 34-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.
The plea agreement comes roughly three weeks after Odom met with the Clippers in mid-November. L.A. had one open roster spot at the time but will reportedly fill it with the signing of free-agent forward Stephen Jackson as they look to replace J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Reggie Bullock, who are all out with injuries. CBSSports.com reported earlier this month that Odom was working out in hopes of continuing his NBA career but that he might not be ready until January.
If Odom does return to the NBA, he will almost certainly face a suspension for his "no contest" plea. Devin Ebanks and Jason Kidd were both issued two-game suspensions for pleading no contest to DUI charges in recent months.
A skilled, versatile forward who was named 2011 Sixth Man of the Year, Odom has seen his career go off the rails in recent years. In December 2011, the Lakers traded him to the Mavericks after reports of a dispute with management. Odom played just 50 games in Dallas before he was essentially told to remain home. The Mavericks traded him to the Clippers in 2012, and while he did appear in all 82 games last season, his production was a fraction of what he offered during the championship seasons with the Lakers.
The last few months have seen Odom's name repeatedly hit the headlines. ESPN.com reported in August that Odom’s friends were “trying to get him help for an unspecified drug problem” in light of reports that suggested he was “missing” and having marital problems. He briefly entered a rehabilitation center, according to reports, and he vented in detail last month after his father, Joe, discussed Odom's wife, reality television star Khloe Kardashian Odom, and her family.
In an emotional message posted to Twitter, Odom admitted that he was experiencing a "dark time," while also taking his "absent" father to task for passing on his "demons" and making disparaging comments about his wife and her family. Odom denied have a drug problem or needing professional help in a brief video interview with TMZSports.com back in September. He also said that he would "hopefully" play during the 2013-14 season.