The Lakers' consolation prize after losing in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes set foot Tuesday into the team's practice facility, oozing enthusiasm on everything about purple and gold. Veteran center Chris Kaman gushed that Mike D'Antoni's offense centers on pick-and-rolls at a fluid tempo. Kaman expressed excitement about playing with Kobe Bryant and offered no preference as to whether he will start or come off the bench. For all the talent the Lakers lost in Howard going to the Houston Rockets, there is a chance Kaman's versatility in the post and team mindset could mitigate Howard's void and eliminate the drama surrounding his lone season with the Lakers. "I'm here to do a job. Whatever it is, I'll do it. It just depends on whatever the coach needs me to do is where I'll be at," Kaman said. "I'm confident I'll get along with coach and have a good relationship." Howard had a frustrating time in his lone season with the Lakers beyond nursing back and shoulder injuries. He wished D'Antoni's offense featured more post-ups than pick-and-roll plays. Howard also didn't respond well to Bryant's demanding leadership style. Kaman suggested those issues won't bother him. He sounded intrigued about playing with Bryant after spending most of his career playing as a crosstown rival. Kaman, 31, spent eight of his first 10 NBA seasons with the Clippers (2003-11) before being traded to New Orleans as part of the Chris Paul deal. "You always hear a lot about how hard he works and stuff like that. I'm just interested to see what it is," Kaman said. "Everybody knows his mentality is different than most players, and that's why he is where he's at." Kaman also sounded unconcerned about how he will mesh with Pau Gasol. He and Howard didn't consistently co-exist partly because of persistent injuries and D'Antoni's preference for small ball. "Coach D'Antoni's offense is a little bit different than most coaches. I like his style," Kaman said. "They have a lot of up-and-down up tempo, a lot of Steve Nash pick and rolls. "I think the game is changing and the game is evolving into a pick-and-roll game and a face-up game." Hence, Kaman hardly hesitated in joining the Lakers on a one-year deal at the mini mid-level exception of $3.2 million after playing last season for the Dallas Mavericks for $8 million. "There wasn't a ton of options," Kaman said. "Waiting for Dwight to make his decision jammed things up a little bit for the big guys. For me, I thought it was a comfortable fit." Still, it's a tall order for the Lakers to make a significant playoff run next season, let alone win their 17th NBA championship. Bryant remains sidelined with a torn left Achilles tendon and isn't expected to return until either November or December. The jury remains undecided on whether Nash and Gasol can fully recover from their respective hamstring and knee injuries. They'll be without Metta World Peace, who was waived last week through the amnesty provision in a move that saves the Lakers $15 million in luxury taxes. The Lakers added young talent in former USC product Nick Young, four-year swingman Wes Johnson and former Laker Jordan Farmar (once they negotiate a buyout with his Turkish team). How far can the Lakers go next season? "That's a hard question to answer," Kaman said. "I don't think the team is complete and I think you get a better feel for that once Kobe gets back."
Ex-Clippers center Chris Kaman excited to be a Laker
L.A. Daily News | Jul 17