Evans Clinchy
Monday January 16th, 2012

It's been a tumultuous year for Lamar Odom, from the shocking trade that sent him to the Mavericks last month to the fatal car crash he was involved in last July. The veteran forward has seen hard times both on and off the basketball court -- and now, we've learned, he almost walked away from hoops altogether.

Odom told ESPN's Marc Stein this week that he came "real close" to leaving the game for a year-long sabbatical. If not for wife Khloe Kardashian talking him out of it, Odom could have been unemployed right now.

"I was asking myself: 'Was I mentally prepared to play? If I didn't play well, was I mentally prepared to help the team?'" Odom told Stein. "I had thought, 'Maybe I need a year.' Because of the lockout, I thought, 'Maybe somebody's sending me a sign that I needed this time off.'"

After seven seasons with the Lakers including two championship runs, Odom's time in L.A. was abruptly cut short this winter when the team first attempted to trade him to New Orleans for Chris Paul, then shifted gears and dealt him to Dallas for next to nothing. Odom has struggled in his new habitat, averaging just 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game off the Mavs' bench as Dirk Nowitzki's backup.

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