Chris Kaman wanted a multiyear deal. He was on the verge of getting one until the Indiana Pacers matched Portland's max offer for emerging big man Roy Hibbert. Then it was on to Plan B and a showdown between the center-starved Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks.
"The last three days I’ve been going back and forth between Portland and Dallas and I know (Portland general manager) Neil Olshey up there pretty well," Kaman said Thursday morning when he joined Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "The offers were both very close, so it was just kind of a call where I felt a little more comfortable and I really like Dallas the city. The organization does a great job taking care of their players and their people and I’m excited for the chance to see what I can do there."
It didn't hurt that Kaman and Dirk Nowitzki have become good friends. Nowitzki convinced Kaman, a Michigan native whose grandparents are German, to join him on the German national team that competed in the 2008 Olympics. Now, they become teammates in Dallas with Kaman instantly becoming the most accomplished low-post scorer Dirk has ever played with.
Kaman, who averaged 13.1 points and 7.7 points in 47 games with the New Orleans Hornets last season and career bests of 18.5 and 9.3 as an All-Star in 2009-10, agreed to come aboard on a one-year deal for $8 million. His addition now has the Mavs prepared to use the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood, which would wipe his $8.3 million salary off the books next season.
The once stringy-haired Kaman who now prefers a close trim said he thinks he and Nowitzki will complement each other well.
"He’s more outside first and then inside second and I think the team has always spaced the floor and kind of stretched it a little because there’s probably been a little bit of lack of scoring inside," Kaman said. "I’m excited to see what coach (Rick) Carlisle has to put up in there. I know in the past he’s had teams with good post players. I know he’s a good coach, I know he knows what he’s doing and I’m just excited to see what happens next with the team. It’s a different team than they’ve had the last few years just with no Jason Kidd, no Jason Terry, so it will be interesting to see how it goes."
Kaman, 30, said ultimately he and the Mavs got a fair deal. Dallas desperately wants to limit contracts to one year to keep cap space free for next summer and Kaman gets a nice salary even though he will earn $6 million less than last season. Still, he has a chance to put up big numbers and cash in next summer, either with Dallas or elsewhere.