PHILADELPHIA --– After receiving consistent playing time in all three games of the Los Angeles Lakers' 2-1 trip, Chris Kaman admitted that it was the first time he had fun playing basketball in a long time.
But he also admitted that if he doesn't make it past the upcoming Feb. 20 trade deadline and finish out the season as a Laker, it won't faze him.
"I don't care, I honestly don't care," Kaman said when asked if he has thought about the possibility of the Lakers trading him. "It's not something that I want to do, but it's not going to make me go to sleep at night and have to stay awake all night tossing and turning thinking about it. I don't care. If they want to trade somebody, trade me, trade the next guy, it don't bother me. It's part of the business. The sooner that you realize it's a part of the business, the better off you're going to be. Just let it roll and let it happen. I'm not going to try to stop anything."
Kaman was signed in the offseason to a one-year, $3.2 million deal but has played sparingly under coach Mike D'Antoni. The coach prefers to play with only one post player on the court at any given time, limiting the opportunity for a back-to-the-basket center like Kaman, especially when Pau Gasol is healthy. Gasol remained in L.A. during the trip to rehab his injured groin.
Even with Friday's 112-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers giving L.A. a two-game winning streak, the Lakers are still just 18-32 overall and 11 games out of a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Should management decide that making a postseason push is not feasible, Kaman could certainly be shopped for a future draft pick as the team would certainly like to shed the approximately $8 million in salary it would need to drop to get under the luxury tax.
D'Antoni credited Kaman's performance -- he had 17 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and one steal in 25 minutes off the bench -- for spearheading the Lakers' defensive effort against the Sixers. L.A. held Philadelphia to 98 points on 42.5 percent shooting and gave up only 13 points in the fourth quarter, ending a streak of 16 consecutive games with its opponent scoring 100 points or more.
"The biggest thing with Chris, he played real good defense," D'Antoni said. "He clogged it up in there and offensively he's good anyway. But defensively, he played well. He did."
The fact remains Kaman has played in only 26 of the Lakers' 50 games this season, as D'Antoni has regularly kept the 11-year veteran out of his rotation.
"I've played a lot of years so far and sometimes it's just about having a coach who trusts what you do in the long run," said Kaman, who came into Friday averaging 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds this season. "Sometimes people will give you a different opportunity to make mistakes. I had a coach [Mike Dunleavy] for seven years that kind of worked with me and let me play through things. I'm going to make mistakes, but I think ultimately, I've been doing this long enough to know that I'm a pretty solid basketball player all around and I bring a lot of different things to the table.
"And given time, sometimes I'm not going to play awesome, but there's a lot of pressure to win nowadays. More than it used to be. Guys are getting throats cut real quick. You got to mix it up and try to do anything you can. I think that's what [D'Antoni is doing]. Just searching."