A day after cutting ties with the enigmatic Lamar Odom, the Dallas Mavericks will get back to work by shooting for their 16th straight home win over the Sacramento Kings.
Odom and the reigning NBA champions worked out an agreement on Monday that allowed the two sides to divorce immediately, with the struggling big man leaving Big D for the remainder of the season with pay. The Mavs, in turn, will not release him, list him as inactive for the rest of 2011-12 and retain his rights.
"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Odom said in a statement to ESPNDallas.com.
"I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."
The Mavericks, of course, acquired Odom from the Los Angeles Lakers just prior to the start of the abbreviated season in December. The Lakers had previously tried to deal Odom to New Orleans as part of a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles, but the league would not approve the transaction.
The Mavs, who are currently the No. 7 seed in the West, are coming off a 94-89 setback in Memphis on Saturday.
Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 17 points to go along with eight rebounds as Dallas dropped its fourth game in six tries. Brandan Wright contributed a season-high 16 points and Shawn Marion finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a losing effort.
"It's just frustrating in all aspects," Marion said. "We were playing good defense. We couldn't hit any shots. If everything could go wrong, it went wrong."
With just nine games left in the regular season, it's conceivable that Dallas will never get the chance to defend its first franchise championship in the postseason. The Mavs are just one game ahead on No. 9 Phoenix and 1 1/2 clear of 10th seed Utah in the jumbled West playoff picture.
The Kings, meanwhile, have lost four straight, including Sunday's 104-87 loss to the Houston Rockets at Power Balance Pavilion.
Terrence Williams netted a season-high 21 points for the Kings, who are dealing with a host on injuries including high-scoring guard Marcus Thornton (bruised left calf).
Jimmer Fredette and fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas finished with 17 and 16 points, respectively, for the Kings, who have lost five of six overall.
"We didn't have a lot of energy tonight," Fredette said. "We have to come bring it every single night."
Thornton, who has missed the last four games, could return tonight while Francisco Garcia (concussion) and John Salmons, who has missed eight straight with a balky hip, are both listed as questionable.
Dallas blitzed the Kings, 99-60, In Sacramento's last visit to American Airlines Center back on Jan. 14. It was the fewest points ever allowed by the Mavericks, and Sacramento's 23 first-half points in that one were a franchise record for futility.
The Kings haven't won in North Texas since Feb. 27, 2003.