LOS ANGELES (AP) Chris Kaman can’t wait until his miserable season with the Los Angeles Lakers finally ends.
Until then, he’s just trying to salvage something out of this wrong turn in his basketball career.
Kaman was the Lakers’ starting center Tuesday night against the New York Knicks with Pau Gasol sidelined by vertigo, but it was his first game action in March. The former All-Star 7-footer had watched the previous 10 games from the sidelines, unable to carve out any role in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system.
”It’s been a long season,” Kaman said. ”I can’t wait until it’s over, I’ll tell you that.”
Kaman, an 11-year NBA veteran, called it the most frustrating season of his career ”by far. Tenfold.”
Although he is averaging 9.9 points per game when he plays, Kaman is at career lows in rebounds (5.6) and minutes per game (18.4).
Kaman’s frustration has been palpable since shortly after he signed a one-year deal with the Lakers as a free agent in July. He appeared in just 34 of the Lakers’ first 69 games this season, with a foot injury hindering him much less than his inability to click with Los Angeles’ coaching staff.
”I was surprised the way we started the first preseason game,” Kaman said of his inability to crack D’Antoni’s rotation. ”My bad on my part not doing due diligence enough to look into (D’Antoni’s) style of play.”
Kaman said he hadn’t spoken to D’Antoni since the Lakers were in Portland on March 3. The center doesn’t necessarily think that’s weird, but he leaves little doubt he doesn’t sync with D’Antoni’s style of coaching or management.
”I’m not at peace about it,” Kaman added. ”I’m (ticked) about it, but I can’t control it. … It’s tough, but the best thing to do is play and try to stay positive and finish on a strong note.”
Kaman spoke after D’Antoni’s pregame availability with the media.
After spending his first eight NBA seasons with the Clippers, who made him the sixth overall pick in the 2003 draft, Kaman was traded to the New Orleans Hornets for one season.
He was similarly frustrated last season after signing with the Dallas Mavericks, struggling to get off coach Rick Carlisle’s bench and chafing at his lack of involvement. He also missed time with a concussion.
Kaman said he can’t stay in game shape without playing in any games, and he expected to be rusty in his first game back. His foot injury is nothing that would prevent him from playing, and he’s still hoping he’ll get some time on court in the Lakers’ final 12 games of what’s likely to be the franchise’s worst season since moving to Los Angeles.
Kaman, who turns 32 next month, said he’ll ”just do my job, make this go as quick as possible, and go from there.”