Chris Kaman acknowledges frustration with Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni

Chris Kaman and the Portland Trail Blazers have reached on an agreement on a three-year contract.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Veteran center Chris Kaman opened the annual end-of-season Lakers’ exit interview at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo on Thursday.

Kaman met with General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Mike D’Antoni, discussing the past season and briefly glossing over future possibilities.

“In the right situation, I could see myself anywhere,” said Kaman on a possible return. “I enjoy L.A. It’s my ninth year in the city of Los Angeles.”


If D’Antoni stays on as coach of the Lakers, it’s difficult to imagine Kaman back on the team’s roster.

“This is a tough style of basketball here for me,” the former Clipper said. “I came here thinking it was going to be two bigs, me and Pau [Gasol]. No one really said that, but I think I anticipated that — why else would they call me?”

Kaman didn’t enjoy playing — or rather not playing sizable minutes — for D’Antoni.

“I just don’t think it worked out how Coach had anticipated either,” said Kaman. “I don’t think Coach did any of that on purpose, I really don’t. Two bigs just don’t fit into his style of offense.”

Kaman took responsibility for signing up without doing his due diligence on D’Antoni’s system.

“That’s probably something more my fault, that I should have paid more attention to going into this,” he said. “But you think traditional Lakers basketball, two bigs — a lot of high post.”

Kaman played 39 games, starting 13. He finished with an average of 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while shooting 50.9% from the field.


“It obviously didn’t go the way that I had hoped,” he said. “I had my issues with Coach.”

“We both came to the agreement that it obviously it wasn’t going to work, the way he wanted to coach.”

The dissonance between Kaman and D’Antoni came to a head after the center’s best stretch of basketball in February, while Pau Gasol was out with injury. Kaman was frustrated when D’Antoni dropped him immediately upon Gasol’s return.

“I said, ‘This is not working. I feel like I deserve more and I feel like I’ve earned more from this last six-game stretch,’” said Kaman. “He’s like, ‘I can’t guarantee you’re going to play this many minutes.’”

“I said, ‘Well it’s just better off they continue to develop Rob,” Kaman recounted of the heated conversation. “I probably became a little unprofessional, just a little bit, by the end of it.”

The Lakers finished the season with a 27-55 record.

“It was a tough year for me. I just want to, like Kobe [Bryant] said, ‘Flush it’ and move forward,” said Kaman. “I tried to stay positive but it drains on you over the year.”

Kaman will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after a year with the Lakers at $3.2 million.



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