There isn’t a lot the Los Angeles Lakers can do in free agency, so they’re settling for what’s in front of them, especially when it comes to a center they desperately need to add, which just might be Chris Kaman.
The 31-year old center averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds on 20.7 minutes a night last season for the Dallas Mavericks, missing 16 games due to injury. He did make $8 million last season, but despite more interest from Golden State, Atlanta, Sacramento and New York, Kaman isn’t likely going to get paid anywhere near that well next season.
The Lakers don’t have much to offer at this point besides playing next to Bryant, Nash and Gasol, and their Laker-name. In terms of salary, they can give Kaman the mid-level exception at $3 million for next season, with a slight raise if he gets a multiyear deal.
They are also in talks with Lamar Odom, but if it’s a choice between the two, Kaman should be the obvious pick. He’s a much harder worker, and doesn’t seem to be fed up with NBA life like Odom has over the last two seasons. Kaman’s per-36 minutes numbers were close to his career best last season, and as long as he remains injury free (missed 16 games last year), the Lakers have a very productive offensive big man at their disposal.
Kaman himself, who played for the Los Angeles Clippers from 2003 to 2011 is interested in returning to the city, and although the talks between the sides are in their preliminary stages, there’s a good chance this will be a rare moment of good news for the Lakers, who won’t have their franchise and hopes for next season suddenly turned around by adding Kaman or anyone else of that caliber, but it will be a slight tide-turner in what has been a bad offseason for them so far.