After playing 66 games for the Mavericks in 2012-13, Chris Kaman has appeared in only 35 games for the Lakers this season. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lakers center Chris Kaman revealed this week a rather unique bit of chemistry he has -- or doesn't have -- with head coach Mike D'Antoni.
Before the Lakers' blowout win at home over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night, Kaman told Mark Medina, the team's beat writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, that he hasn't spoken with his head coach in three weeks. One might wonder how then the big man found out he was getting the rare start on Tuesday if he and D'Antoni aren't speaking; Kaman told Medina that he "only found out he's starting tonight by lineups."
The situation, as it was told by Kaman, doesn't bode well for a player that had already missed multiple games this season because of the coach's decision, and not due to injury. In total, the 31-year-old former All-Star has missed 35 games this season, mostly because of various injuries, but a number of those benchings have been the decision of D'Antoni. The Lakers were already struggling to defend in the paint in many games this season because of a thin frontcourt due to various lingering injuries to All-Star center Pau Gasol, so the fact that Kaman hasn't been relied on more heavily and that he hasn't spoken with the coach in nearly a month doesn't sound encouraging for his future in Los Angeles.
The 11-year veteran told Medina that this season has been his hardest "by far" and is "ten fold" more challenging than any other season since he was drafted N0. 6 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2003. This past offseason, he signed a one-year mid-level exception deal for $3.1 million, and between his string of DNP-CDs this season and his ongoing streak without speaking with his head coach, it's becoming more and more likely the seven-footer will be taking his services elsewhere in July when he becomes a free agent again.
Kaman averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 66 games last season with the Dallas Mavericks. He is currently averaging nearly the same numbers this season, an efficient 10.0 points on 50 percent shooting and 5.7 rebounds in 18.5 minutes, but he has appeared in only 35 games this season with less than three weeks remaining as the Lakers remain poised to miss the playoffs for the first time in six years.