Chris Kaman to Lakers: LA Signs Veteran Center to 1-Year Deal

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IJuly 8, 2013

Ten-year NBA veteran Chris Kaman agreed to a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday.


UPDATE: Friday, July 12, at 4:53 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

The Lakers made their signing of Kaman official on Friday via Twitter:

---End of update---


Original Text

ESPN's Marc Stein first reported that the 31-year-old center had come off the free-agent market:

Terms of Kaman's new one-year contract were not immediately available, but ESPN's Ramona Shelburne had this post explaining how he's being brought on board:

Kaman also told his Twitter followers shortly after the news broke:  

The Lakers will be the fourth team Kaman has suited up for in his NBA career, joining the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks. In 66 games (52 starts) with the Mavericks during the 2012-13 campaign, Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds on 50.7 percent shooting from the floor. 

He has career averages of 11.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. 

Kaman didn't take long to earn a spot in the starting lineup after being taken by the Clippers in the first round of the 2003 NBA draft. Paired with a dominant Elton Brand in the frontcourt, he helped the franchise reach the postseason for the first time in nine years in 2006. 

Though he put up consistent numbers when he was on the floor, Kaman was often hindered by injuries during his Clipper career. Only in his rookie season did the former Central Michigan star play in all 82 regular-season games. 

He finished his eight-year career with the Clips in the summer of 2011, when he was shipped to New Orleans along with shooting guard Eric Gordon in the deal that brought Chris Paul to Los Angeles. Injured again in parts of the year, he averaged over 13 points and seven rebounds in his lone season with the Hornets. 

Kaman was a free agent last summer, signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the Mavericks—a move that paired him with former German national teammate Dirk Nowitzki just one season removed from Dallas winning the NBA Finals. 

His time in Dallas was anything but a redux of happy times with Nowitzki during international play. 

Handed the starting center job following the amnesty of Brendan Haywood and sign-and-trade deal that sent Ian Mahinmi to Indiana, Kaman was expected to shoulder a good portion of Dallas' offensive workload. Nowitzki went under the knife to correct a knee issue just before the season started, leaving Kaman even more opportunities to excel. 

After a hot start to the season in which he poured in double-digit scoring efforts in each of his first four games, Kaman's production began to dip, and head coach Rick Carlisle's trust in his defensive abilities started to waver. 

Carlisle started using Dallas' "small-ball" lineup to close games out because of Kaman's inconsistencies on the defensive end, prompting the big man to admit he needed to play better in the post to earn more crunch-time minutes in mid-December. 

His season continued to fluctuate from there. An injury in late January that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month sealed his fate in the rotation the rest of the way, and the Mavs were unable to crawl out of the hole they created with such a slow start to the year. 

Dallas media members, including ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon, described Kaman as "disgruntled" toward the end of the season, but MacMahon did note that Kaman chose his words about a lack of playing time carefully to avoid any fallout from the coaching staff or upper management. 

The Mavericks were not expected to pursue Kaman, having given him a one-year contract to preserve cap space for a push at marquee free agents this summer. 

However, the Lakers appear to see plenty of potential in the one-time All-Star's game.

Expect Kaman to come into the 2013-14 season motivated and willing do to whatever it takes to prove he can be a valuable contributor in place of the departing Dwight Howard.