Ice Cube is opening up about why Lamar Odom was cut from his BIG3 basketball league -- explaining, "We want players that are actually playing."
As we previously reported, 39-year-old Odom was axed by the league on Wednesday -- essentially ending his dream of returning to pro ball.
Odom was a member of the "Enemies" -- playing alongside Gilbert Arenas and Royce White.
But, Odom only posted 2 points and 4 rebounds in 3 games and our sources told us the guy simply wasn't ready to play.
Cube echoed those sentiments at LAX ... "You know, as a league we want players that are actually playing."
He added that players who aren't playing or who "can't play" or have "health issues" that prevent them from playing really don't have any business being on a BIG3 roster.
When asked if he was concerned about Odom, considering the serious issues in Lamar's past ... Cube replied, "Always, I love the guy."
The move was shocking, considering Odom had been training like a maniac before the BIG3 season -- and it seemed like he was in shape and ready to go.
But, as the league continues to get more competitive, it became clear LO just couldn't hack it anymore.
Odom has already been removed from Enemies' official roster. Baron Davis, Jermaine O'Neal and Bonzi Wells were also part of the BIG3 purge.
Meanwhile, the league is gearing up for Week 4 -- which goes down this weekend in Rhode Island and Brooklyn.