TMZ: Lamar Odom struggled with ‘hardcore drug’ abuse

Lamar Odom was a key piece to the Lakers' 2009 and 2010 Finals victories. He was a big part of the success of this latest era of Los Angeles titles. Then things fell apart. Much faster than anyone could anticipate.

He signed with the Mavericks as a free agent and had his first season averaging fewer than 10 points per game. He was unhappy and lost in the wilderness, it seemed. He played for the Mavericks, but was visibly unhappy about it. He returned to Los Angeles with the Clippers, but things did not return to normal for Odom.

Things were far from normal for Odom, according to TMZ:

Multiple sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ … Lamar has had a problem for 2 years. It got so bad, last August Khloe [Kardashian, his wife] pressured Lamar to go to rehab. Lamar went to a facility in San Diego, but he was so resistant Khloe hired private investigators to secretly stand guard at the rehab place to make sure he didn't leave.

TMZ reports Odom stayed clean while he played for the Clippers last year. And he seemed to bounce back some. But his play still suffered as he averaged 4.0 points per game in just less than 20 minutes per game. He played in all 82 games, but was an afterthought.

He is currently a free agent and gained interest from several teams but has not signed with any team. If this news is true, it will not bode well for his prospects of continuing his basketball career.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/ZimbioIt is important to remember Odom reportedly stayed clean while he was playing, although TMZ did not report what drug Odom reportedly abused. But the specter of this report, and any possible suspension that might come with the NBA's substance abuse program. Certainly if Odom is in the NBA, the league will likely put him in a reasonable cause testing program and will make sure he is still clean.

Players found in violation of the NBA's substance abuse program for "Drugs of Abuse" are not suspended unless they fail to complete the first stage. According to the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement posted on the NBPA's Web site, this first stage is completed by entering a treatment program and showing the NBA proof of the successful completion of that program.

According to TMZ's report, Odom reportedly balked at his wife's request to enter rehab and need convincing to stay in the treatment center he was at.

The second phase of treatment does result in a suspension for as long as the player is in the second phase. This phase requires the players to enter in-patient treatment. The player is suspended for that period and the first six months after the completion of the program.

A third violation results in expulsion from the league.

Add it all up, and it does not seem an NBA team would be willing to take a risk on a 33-year-old power forward who might be facing these stiff restrictions.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily