Chris Kaman Says 1-Year Contracts Complicate Matters for Lakers

David MurphyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

February 9, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman (9) moves to the basket  against the defense of Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson (22) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman had a season-high 27 points off the bench on Sunday, and he later spoke of his frustrations, as well as those of teammates on one-year deals.

Per Serena Winters of Lakers Nation:

Elaborating further on the situation:

It has been a difficult season for Kaman, and he hasn’t been shy about expressing his feelings. The veteran big man signed with the Lakers this past summer on a one-year, $3.2 million free-agent deal, expecting that he would play a meaningful role in the rotation.

Instead, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni has used the former All-Star sparingly. While Kaman sat out a handful of games with a sore back, there have been many more DNPs at D’Antoni’s discretion. Kaman has appeared in 27 out of 51 games, averaging 9.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game.

Kaman’s reference to one-year deals comes during a transitional season for the Lakers. In an effort to clear salary space for next season, management signed the majority of the current roster to short-term agreements.

In fact, only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Nick Young, Robert Sacre and rookie Ryan Kelly have deals in place for next season. Of those, Kelly’s is a qualifying offer and Young’s is a player’s option.

In December, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported on Kaman’s disillusionment:

It's definitely not what I was told coming in here. Obviously, I would have never came here if they had said, 'We're not going to play you at all.' I thought I had a good opportunity coming here.

On February 7, Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles relayed Kaman’s feelings about the upcoming trade deadline:

I don't care, I honestly don't care. It's not something that I want to do, but it's not going to make me go to sleep at night and have to stay awake all night tossing and turning thinking about it. If they want to trade somebody, trade me, trade the next guy, it don't bother me.

Kaman’s 27 points on Sunday came during a loss to the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center. Per the Associated Press (via ESPN), Bulls guard Taj Gibson spoke highly of Kaman’s ability after the game:

He's been in the league for a long time, and he's one of the most skilled big men I've ever seen ever since I was in high school. He has both left and right-hand hooks, a mid-range game -- and once he's in a rhythm like he was today, it's really hard to stop him.

The Lakers have been experiencing one of their worst seasons in years, with an 18-33 record through Sunday’s game. Between a myriad of injuries, uncertainty about players’ futures and mounting losses, it’s hard not to give credence to Kaman’s words.