Why Chris Kaman Should Have Future with Los Angeles Lakers

Chris Kaman's first season with the Los Angeles Lakers wasn't the audition he was hoping for. He's played in just 39 games this season due to a combination of injury and head coach Mike D'Antoni's preference for small lineups. His averages (10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds) are respectable but underwhelming. And he doesn't seem to be having a good time.

Regarding his situation and limited playing time in Los Angeles, Kaman said in December, "It's absolutely not what I was looking for," according to ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne. Most signs point to a disaffection with D'Antoni, an utter failure to understand how his talent could go wasted on a team that's badly needed all hands on deck.

From D'Antoni's standpoint, Kaman just seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

D'Antoni's explanation suggests that he's making player development a higher priority than winning (per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan and Eric Pincus):

When you do the math, if you're going to play Pau 30 minutes, that leaves 18 minutes someplace. You'd like to play Robert [Sacre] because he's developing. Even if you play Robert 10 minutes, that leaves eight or nine for Chris. He said he didn't want to play that.

But that kind of breakdown has been of little consolation to a 31-year-old looking to make the most of his remaining prime. You can understand Kaman's frustration. He's clearly better than either Sacre or Kelly, and the Lakers clearly haven't been winning. 

Kaman reasons to be one of the few solutions for a coach who's fresh out of options. Only he hasn't been, even remotely.

The Lakers could let Kaman walk as a free agent, but they'd be wise to do otherwise. Counterintuitive though it may seem after a season like this one, there are good reasons to keep the Caveman in the fold. That may become even easier now that he's at least sounding more agreeable whe...

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