DALLAS (CBS SPORTS) – Before the season opener between the Mavericks and Heat on Christmas Day, I asked Rick Carlisle about his expectations for Lamar Odom and how he’d fit in with the defending champs.

After Dallas owner Mark Cuban took the calculated risk of sending free agent Tyson Chandler to the Knicks instead of paying him, it was clear that the benefits of the move would be felt long term — if at all. It was all part of a plan to clear cap space for a run at 2011 free-agent prize Deron Williams and/or Dwight Howard, who has since agreed (however awkwardly) to stay with the Magic next season.

When the opportunity arose to get Odom for basically nothing from the suddenly luxury-tax averse Lakers, it was a chance to get some short-term payback for the decision to let Chandler go. If Odom, one of the most talented big men in the league, played at a high level, the loss of Chandler wouldn’t sting so much. If not, then oh well, the long-term plan would still be intact.

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