Rick Carlisle has been as positive as anyone in the Dallas Mavericks locker room when it has come to the disappointing season Lamar Odom is having. When it has come to the media questioning the forward's lack of production, Carlisle has preached patience.
But that changed on Friday.
During his weekly local radio interview, the Mavericks head coach didn't hold back when discussing his frustrations with Odom, who has missed the last three games due to a personal issue.
"I'm going to say my peace about this," Carlisle stated on the Galloway and Company radio show on 103.3 KESN-FM in Dallas. "I'm disappointed with how it's gone. We've worked hard with this kid. I'm a patient guy, Mark Cuban is a patient guy, Donnie Nelson is a patient guy. Our team is a patient team, but patience has worn thin here."
Carlisle made sure to note that he wasn't speaking about Odom's personal matter, something he had little inside information about. No, Carlisle was talking about Odom's lack of contribution on the floor.
"Our fans want to know that Lamar's in, our players want to know that Lamar's in," Carlisle said. "And it's not about how many points he's scoring or rebounds. Those things are a factor but our people, our players, want to see the guy playing like his pants are on fire. And we haven't seen that so far. That's got to change."
Even if the numbers aren't exactly what Carlisle was speaking about they're a pretty good indicator that things haven't gone well for Odom, who was traded to the Mavs prior to the start of the season.
During his 13th NBA season, Odom's posted career lows in every major statistical category, averaging 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists. All of those numbers are nearly half of what he produced last season as the league's Sixth Man of the Year with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"When he steps back on the floor in a Mavericks uniform, there's going to be a lot of scrutiny," Carlisle said. "This is not just the expectation; this has got to be the reality. The guy has got to play his butt off."
In an attempt to get back in basketball shape, Odom has decided to join the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League for the weekend. Odom, who practiced with the Legends on Friday, will play for the team on Saturday with hopes of getting significant minutes.
"This is pretty unprecedented, that a guy of this stature, in terms of his career, does this voluntarily," Carlisle said of the D-League move. "Guys don't do this kind of thing. It just is not done. They had to get permission from the league. There had to be clearance from the players association to do it.
"On a certain level, it's an interesting concept. And in one way it shows that he's trying to do the right things to get himself ready to play, so that when he comes back it isn't a yo-yo thing where we've got to yank him in and out of games, because that can be a difficult thing, too. We'll see how this thing goes Saturday night in Frisco Texas. Then we need to get him back and we need to get him functioning at a high level. We need to get him functioning at a higher level than he's played at to this point.
"And having said that, I will again identify the fact that the first 15 games were not good. The second 15 games were much better, statistically and in terms of his conditioning and overall approach and everything else. The hope was that the third quarter of the season would even be a bump up from there, and by the time we hit the last stretch of 10 or 15 games, we could have this guy completely entrenched in our system and doing everything at a high level.
"And I still believe we can get there. But he's going to have to come back and play very hard and very aggressively."
Carlisle said everyone will find out "very quickly" where things stand with Odom. As long as the veteran is engaged then everything should be fine. Regardless of the dwindling stats, it sounds as if Carlisle is just looking for a competitor.
But what does Odom need to show his teammates?
"It's got to be few words and strong action, and it's got to go from there," Carlisle said. "I'm sure he'll address the team. At this point going forward, it's attitude and action.
"We're going to do everything we can to get the guy ready to play because, look, as a person to be around, he's been terrific. On the court it's been a struggle.
"He's well-aware now of exactly what's expected."
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota