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Lamar Odom has played great this season, but there is worried that a new reality show could distract him. Carmelo Anthony can’t wait to get the “Nuggets” off of his chest. Looks like he’d prefer his jersey to say “Nets.”Photos by Jeff Lewis Another “distraction” for the Lakers? Denver needs to complete the Carmelo deal and move on--and teammates fight over card game debt.By Michael Brown, Sentinel Sports Writer OK with Lamar-Khloe show, but the Lakers come firstThe announcement last week of a new reality show starring Lamar Odom and his wife Khloe Kardashian not only had the internet gossip hounds going nuts, but Lakers fans as well.The announcement that E! Entertainment signed the couple to an eight-episode deal scheduled to begin filming early this year, was the hot topic on 710 ESPN’s Mason & Ireland show last week. After I listened to the show, I asked myself: “Will Lamar and Khloe be a distraction and hurt the Lakers’ chance at a three-peat?”That question was put to rest for me Sunday night when I watched Odom score 13 points, grab 18 rebounds with four assists in a 109-87 victory against the New York Knicks for the Lakeshow’s fourth win in a row.Odom’s averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds and may be an All-Star. He started when Andrew Bynum was sidelined with an injury, and has proven to be the team’s leader among the reserves.While I watched the Lakers dismantle the Knicks, the made for TV escapades of the Odoms were the furthest thing from my mind and didn‘t seem to distract the Lakers. I’m OK with Odom pursuing off the court opportunities because the fate of the Lakers will not depend upon whether Khloe can secure a record deal for her brother, but rather, whether Bynum can seal the deal of becoming a force at center.Playing in L.A. is unlike anyplace else in the country with the exception of New York. Guys like Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter aren’t just followed by Joe Six-Pack who watches the game. Tabloids and the entertainment media are just as interested in these players’ exploits away from the sports arena.Odom has to guard against letting the show become his first priority as we recently saw with the Bengals’ wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Those two may have the “T.Ocho Show,” but no one cares due to Cincinnati’s 4-12 season.Odom re-signed with the Lakers in 2009 for four years and “just” $33 million when there were more lucrative offers on the table, namely from Miami. Let him get his money, albeit, as long as the Lakers are the first priority.Memo to the Denver Nuggets: You have no leverageAccording to a report at Yahoo! Sports, the Nuggets threatened to rescind the reported 3-team deal involving the Nets and Pistons due to New Jersey “leaking” the details, and trade Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks instead.As of Sunday night, the Nets would have received Anthony and Chauncey Billups and Detroit’s Richard Hamilton. Denver would receive Nets players Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow and other players along with two future first-round picks.Detroit would receive the Nets center Johan Petro and Troy Murphy’s expiring contract. In addition to leveling threats, ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the Nuggets are insisting that Al Harrington’s remaining four years and $28 million left on his contract be included in the deal. Understandably, the Nets said no way.All-in-all, it looks like a trade is happening soon, and Anthony will have a New York or New Jersey address to replace the one in Denver. I’ve been writing for weeks about what Denver should do, but acting like they hold a hammer instead of a feather isn’t one of them.The whole NBA knows Denver has to trade Anthony. Issuing threats to other potential trading partners will do nothing to sweeten any package they receive.If Denver can get Harrington’s money off of its books in a deal for Anthony that’s a win-win, but they shouldn’t get greedy. Denver should get creative and package Harrington with Nene or Kenyon Martin and try to entice Dallas, who just lost Caron Butler for the year and needs another wing player.The Nuggets are no longer a contender, so a complete rebuilding should be its first goal. Dragging out the Anthony trade is counterproductive. Fans have already started booing Anthony in Denver. The situation could boil over if he shirks the diplomatic stance he’s taken and demands to be traded. NBA extra curricular activities lead to fightIs it too much to ask that a bunch of guys who make millions of dollars a year not punch each other in the face over gambling debts?In the case of the Grizzlies, the answer is yes.On the team’s chartered plane last week, guards O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen got into a physical altercation over an unpaid debt after a card game.Team sources told Yahoo! Sports that Mayo owed Allen money from the game and when Allen walked away to go to the bathroom, Mayo antagonized him and inched closer, which led to Allen punching him in the face. Several players separated them.They allegedly played “Boo-Ray” which is the game Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton played before they pulled out guns on each other in Washington’s locker room.The latest incident reminded me of the season-long feud between Charles Oakley and Tyrone Hill in 2001, when Hill didn’t want to pay Oakley $54,000 for a lost dice game.Oakley, always willing to dish out an butt-whooping (ask Charles Barkley and Jeff McInnis), threw a ball at Hill’s face before a game, leading to a suspension, and punched him later that year.Hill wisely smartened up and paid the debt. Memphis’ coach Lionel Hollins has since banned gambling on team flights and hotel rooms.I don’t condone any of this behavior, although I won’t tell other people what to do with their money.I’m surprised Commissioner David Stern hasn’t already instituted a ban under the premise of protecting the league’s “image.” Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had it right. The Captain was legendary for the numerous books he would read during downtime and has penned several since his retirement. But suggesting players read books is probably too much to ask as well.
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