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Lakers' Chris Kaman always has his own spin on things

BasketballSportsPro BasketballKaman CorporationChris KamanLos Angeles ClippersDallas Mavericks

No matter how dreadful the upcoming season might be, Lakers fans don't have to hold their breath. Chris Kaman will do it for you.

He can stay submerged in water for 2½ minutes thanks to years of free diving in the ocean.

No, Kaman isn't your normal NBA center. Never has been. Never will be.

Now he's Lakers property for a year. It will be a fun ride this season, at least in front of Kaman's locker before and after every game.

Listen to him talk and you think a dark, low-level cloud will appear over his head and start a downpour.

He sold his Manhattan Beach home over the summer and was unexpectedly contacted by the Lakers a week later.

He signed with Dallas a year ago, eager to play for Mark Cuban and with Dirk Nowitzki, but ended up barely playing toward the end of the season. And a prowler broke into his house there while he and his wife were sleeping.

"It still stresses me out to leave her at home," he said.

Kaman, 31, talks about his eagerness to play for the Lakers but reveals he still is bothered by how the Clippers dealt him to New Orleans in December 2011 as part of the Chris Paul trade.

"After all the years of service I put into that organization, not letting me know that something was going down … I found out off the TV. I thought that was a little unprofessional," Kaman said. "But I'm just looking for a fresh start. I'm feeling pretty good here."

He's self-deprecating and insightful with a little edge. But can he still play?

Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, which led to a $3.2-million, one-year contract with the Lakers, down from the $8 million he made last season with Dallas.

Is this the last year of a career? Kaman doesn't think so.

But even he doesn't know if he'll come off the bench or play alongside Pau Gasol in the starting lineup.

"It's tough when you have a couple rough years, people forget about you a little bit," he said. "I know that I'm capable of playing at this level with these guys. I've done it for 10 years."

Like so many players on the Lakers' roster this season, he has one year to make an impression. Everybody's contract expires next July except for those of Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young.

If nothing else, Kaman has finally grown accustomed to walking through the Lakers' training facility.

"It was just surreal the first few days. To come in and see all the jerseys and banners and the trophies in the window is just something I'm not used to," he said. "The Dallas Mavericks had one, New Orleans didn't have any, and the Clippers didn't have any.

"It's obviously about wins and losses. We'll see how it goes."

Etc.

Kobe Bryant was expected to return late Monday or Tuesday from an innovative knee procedure in Germany, the Lakers said. A timetable for his return from a torn Achilles' tendon has still not been updated by the team…. An MRI exam showed that Wesley Johnson has a strained tendon in his left foot. He is being called day to day by the Lakers after leaving Sunday's game in the first quarter.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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BasketballSportsPro BasketballKaman CorporationChris KamanLos Angeles ClippersDallas Mavericks
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