Dunleavy denies Kaman trade story

Medina is a Times staff writer.

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday denied a New York Post report that suggested the team is trying to trade center Chris Kaman.

With Marcus Camby’s return after a bruised right heel sidelined him in the season’s first three games, the report said the Clippers were open to trading Kaman.

Dunleavy said he turned down the Charlotte Bobcats when they approached the Clippers and expressed interest in Kaman.

“They got the rejection,” Dunleavy said. “But they threw it out there that I almost had a dance with somebody.”


Kaman, who’s averaging 13.1 points and 10.4 rebounds a game, is in the second year of a five-year, $52-million contract. He said after practice that he’d heard about the trade story from a friend.

“I enjoy playing here,” Kaman said. “I hope I can stay here for a while. But if there are other plans, that’s their deal and it’s their business. . . .

“I don’t know what the trade [proposal] was. But it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t look at it like a business, you’re going to get offended too easily.”

Thomas still iffy

Dunleavy says he isn’t sure whether forward Tim Thomas has recovered enough from a sprained left ankle to play tonight against Sacramento.

“If he can’t play, he’ll be ready for Saturday” against Golden State, Dunleavy said.

Thomas said the injury, which he suffered in Friday’s game against Houston, is “nothing pain-wise that I can’t play through.” An X-ray of the ankle showed nothing was broken and Thomas practiced Tuesday.

“Once they OK you to get on the court, you go back out there and try not to think about the injury itself,” he said.

Haircut will wait

A few hours after the Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday for their first win, Al Thornton talked to his girlfriend for the first time since the season started.

Thornton said he didn’t want to talk to her until the Clippers ended their losing streak, partly out of superstition and not wanting to talk when he’s in a bad mood.

“It wasn’t anything personal,” Thornton said. “She knows how I am about basketball.”

During the team’s six-game losing streak, Thornton refused to get a haircut. He sat in a chair at a barbershop Monday ready for a haircut, before suddenly changing his mind and deciding to let the hair grow after the Clippers’ win.

“I might have a huge Afro,” Thornton said.


Now that the Clippers have ended their losing streak, Dunleavy’s and the team’s mood has improved in practice, but they’re not celebrating, he said.

“The bad news is we’re 1-6,” Dunleavy said. “The good news is the teams that for the most part we’ve lost to, a lot of [other] teams are going to be 1-6 against them.”