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Lamar Odom, Vince Carter Make Dallas Mavericks Instant Title Favorites

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Lamar Odom, Vince Carter Make Dallas Mavericks Instant Title Favorites
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Lamar Odom

What a week in the NBA world!

From scandals to trades to unexpected signings, following the activity in the NBA has been nothing short of exciting.

The excitement continues, however, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein has reported:

The Los Angeles Lakers have pulled out of the three-team deal with New Orleans and Houston that would have landed Chris Paul in L.A., according to sources close to the talks. The reason for the Lakers' withdrawal was not immediately known...One source close to the process said that the Lakers will instead trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks.

The exact deal is unknown, but the main pieces in the trade include Odom going to Dallas in exchange for a few picks and their TPE, or traded player exception.

Nobody knows what the intentions of the Lakers are exactly, but many are wondering if Los Angeles is gearing themselves up to make a play for Dwight Howard. The Lakers probably see an opportunity to pounce for the Orlando big man now that the New Jersey Nets—Dwight's first choice—are probably going to be hit with tampering charges. These charges will ultimately knock them out of the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.

Now on to how this impacts the Mavericks. Marc Cuban and Dallas have had a very wild week. From losing Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler to almost signing veteran shooting guard Vince Carter, the Mavs are still not done making headlines. Plus, the team has signed former first-round pick Brandan Wright and are in talks with veteran center Samuel Dalembert.

Despite losing many key pieces to that championship run, the Mavericks have become a better team by leaps and bounds.

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By essentially switching Carter in for Caron Butler, if they do acquire the shooting guard, the Mavericks have become much better offensively. Now the Mavericks will have two players that can create their own shot from the outside—the other being Jason Terry—and Carter is a much better shooter from deep than Caron Butler. However, the best part of the deal is that nobody knows how Butler is going to return from a torn ACL, which makes Carter the safer play.

With the addition of Lamar Odom, they have established themselves as the team to beat. I can't think of another team in history that is as deep as the Dallas Mavericks are. They boast the best second unit in basketball now with two NBA Sixth Man Award winners leading the way. Plus, the addition of Odom will let the aging Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki have less playing time, which will keep them fresh for April.

Despite the Mavericks becoming a much better team, they do have a huge hole at center. Brendan Haywood will probably be the starting center when Christmas Day rolls around and he is more than capable of filling Chandler's shoes. He may not be as big as his predecessor, but he is still massive and a great defender. Plus, Brandan Wright, who just signed a contract, can also play center. And if worse comes to worse then Samuel Dalembert, who they have been in talks with, is still on the market and both parties want to get a contract done.

Whether Khloe Kardashian likes it or not, Odom is going to Dallas, which makes them the team to beat.

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