When it’s all said and done, Chris Kaman’s contribution toward the Clippers’ history may point more to his departure than his actual on-court production.
The Clippers acquired Chris Paul by trading Kaman along with Eric Gordon, Al-Faroug Aminu and a 2012 first-round pick, a move that instantly brought credibility to the organization and improved the team’s culture. And though Kaman hardly takes offense toward the Clippers shedding ties with him, he still sounded disturbed on how they handled it.
“I didn’t think they were respectful about it,” Kaman said. “After playing eight years, at least they could’ve told me what was going on. I wasn’t going to fight it. I understand it. Who wouldn’t want to make a trade to get Chris Paul. Look what it’s done for the organization. But just tell me. I would’ve appreciated if someone told me instead of finding out on ESPN.”
Kaman wasn’t finished.
He then jokingly squared blame on former Clippers general manager Neil Olshey, who has since become the Portland Trail Blazers’ general manager. Olshey has since told reporters that the Clippers never telling Kaman directly about the trade had more to do with the social media climate than the organization’s apathy toward Kaman.
“I give him a hard time. We talked,” Kaman said. “I talked to him a few times now. We communicated. It was fine. I just wish they would’ve told me.”
Regardless, Kaman said he doesn’t allow that experience to sour his memories surrounding his eight-year career with the Clippers.
After the Clippers selected him sixth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, Kaman led them to a 47-35 record and into the second round of the NBA playoffs three years later, the franchise’s best record since going 49-33 as the Buffalo Braves in the 1974-75 season. Kaman’s career-high 18.5 points and 9.6 rebounds in the 2009-10 season helped him earn his lone All-Star appearance.
“I had a good experience and it got me to where I’m at now,” Kaman said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything and I wouldn’t take it back. I’m happy I had the opportunity. It was a great experience for me. I had some solid games there in Staples Center with the Clippers.”
Can Kaman restore to that All-Star level with the Lakers?
“Each team is different. Each team has different options. Each coaching style is different,” Kaman said. “That was a coaching style that was in and out and had different plays designed for big guys. This is more of a movement and speed it up. There, it was pound it inside. It’s different styles every day. It’s just about how you play as a team and as a player.”
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