DALLAS -- The first two weeks of the NBA season includes a reunion tour for Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman, as L.A. played the team that drafted him, the Los Angeles Clippers, on opening night and play Kaman's two other former teams -- the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans -- on the road this week.
Kaman, a one-time All-Star, has enjoyed a solid career over his 11 years in the league, but perhaps his most frustrating campaign was last season with Dallas.
"It just doesn’t always work out everywhere you go, obviously, and players get bounced around, bumped around a lot and I guess I didn’t really fit in to Coach (Rick) Carlisle’s style," Kaman said Tuesday after shootaround. "So I just had to figure out another way to make it work somewhere else."
While things haven't gone completely according to plan with the Lakers either -- Kaman is averaging 8.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in just 16.5 minutes per game so far, seeing his role reduced after missing eight days at the end of training camp with salmonella poisoning -- he said he appreciate's his communication with Mike D'Antoni more than he did with Carlisle.
"It’s a different coaching style," Kaman said. "Coach Carlisle is uptight and kind of plays games with people a little bit here and there, but Coach D’Antoni is more relaxed and more go-with-the-flow kind of thing. Let’s let the guys play and get a feel and he’ll let you make mistakes and still play. That’s the kind of basketball that players like to play. You can’t micromanage every tight little situation and pull guys in-and-out, in-and-out. It just doesn’t work that way."
Kaman told reporters following the Lakers' win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday that he wanted more minutes alongside Pau Gasol moving forward, like he had been granted in the preseason before his stomach virus.
D'Antoni was fine with Kaman's candor.
"I would think it odd if he would have it any other way," D'Antoni said. "He wants to play and he wants to see stuff (on the court) where other guys aren’t quite frank have also thoughts that they want to play and what they think is better. So, it’s not odd. But that’s how his personality is. He’s been great. He’s been super."
The coach also didn't mind Kaman spreading his message through the press.
"I talk to him all the time too and he tells me the same thing," D'Antoni said. "It’s no secret. I’m cool with it. It’s good. There’s nothing wrong with it."
Kaman said the lines of communication are open on both ends.
"Coach is real candid," Kaman said. "He’s open and he’s honest and he’s real flexible and he takes things just like they are. You’re honest and up front with him and he’s the same way back.
"It’s odd to see a coach that has that style, but I like it. Because that’s the kind of guy I am. I’m up front and I like to wear my heart on my sleeve so you know where I’m at. Some coaches don’t like that and I think that can get you in trouble a little bit, but I just try to be honest with people and express what I feel and we’ll see where we go from here. I’ve had nothing but good conversations with him."
Their communication will be tested depending on how long it takes for Kaman to take the floor with Gasol again.
"I think offensively he really knows how to play," said D'Antoni, before describing a role for Kaman. "He passes the ball, he’s very skilled as a big guy and he can give us a lot of what Pau can give us so there’s not really a drop off when Pau goes to the bench."