PHILADELPHIA — Seldom-used center Chris Kaman sounded pragmatic on if the Lakers would trade him leading into the Feb. 20 deadline.
“I honestly don’t care,” Kaman said. “It’s not something I want, but it’s not something that won’t let me sleep at night or make me spend the night tossing and turning. I don’t care. If they want to trade somebody or me, it doesn’t bother me. It’s part of the business. The sooner you realize it’s a business, the better off you’re going to be.”
Kaman played a large part in the Lakers’ 112-98 victory Friday over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, posting 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting and eight rebounds in 25 minutes. D’Antoni also praised Kaman about something that has largely kept him out of the rotation this season.
“Chris Kaman came in and did a good job defensively,” D’Antoni said.
Kaman immediately chuckled when informed about D’Antoni’s assessment.
“That’s surprising. Sometimes it’s about having a coach who trusts what you do in the long run,” said Kaman, who signed with the Lakers this offseason worth $3.2 million. “Sometimes people don’t want to give you opportunities and let you make mistakes.”
Kaman has averaged 8.4. points and 5.2 rebounds in a career-low 16.6 minutes in his lone season with the Lakers. In his eight year tenure with the Clippers, Kaman averaged 11.9 points on 48.7 percent shooting and 8.3 rebounds, including a career 18.5 points and 9.6 rebounds that led to his lone All-Star appearance in 2010
“I had a coach for seven years who worked with me and played through things,” Kaman said, referring to former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy. “I made mistakes, but I’ve played long enough to know I’m a pretty solid basketball player all around and I bring a lot of things to the table.”
Kaman brought plenty to the table against the Sixers in part because D’Antoni resorted to a larger lineup featuring Jordan Hill. In his first game since nursing a strained neck, Hill posted 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
“I like playing with Jordan. He puts pressure on the guys on the offensive boards and defensive boards. He’s a good rebounder, good shot blocker and he’s strong and physical. I like playing with guys like that, who have the old school kind of basketball in the 90’s. That’s the basketball I grew up playing and watching. That’s the kind of basketball I played for seven years. I love playing that way. That would be slower pace, taking your time, setting a lot of screens and execute.”
That hardly matches D’Antoni’s preferred style of play. D’Antoni prefers a faster-paced offense that calls for plenty of floor spacing and three-point shots.
“That’s something I have to adapt to the best I can when I get the opportunities,” Kaman said.
But rarely have those happened, prompting Kaman to make very little on whether his latest effort will prompt more playing time.
“No chance,” Kaman said. “Not this year. I’ve been taking it a game at a time. If I get an opportunity, I’ll go out there and play. I know what I can do. It’s about taking advantage of opportunities and helping my team do what I can do. Tonight it worked out.”
“We were just playing basketball. I had fun. This is the first time I had fun in a long time.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org