Commentary

Chris Kaman open to overseas offers

Los Angeles Clippers big man is willing to give any offer serious consideration

Originally Published: September 6, 2011
By Mark Woods | Special to ESPN.com

Chris KamanAP Photo/Petr David JosekCenter Chris Kaman, who is playing for Germany, is leading all players at EuroBasket in rebounding.

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Add Chris Kaman to the list of NBA players who may be headed (back) to Europe if the NBA season doesn't start as scheduled.

The Los Angeles Clippers center is already overseas, competing for Germany's national team at EuroBasket, where he is the tournament's leading rebounder heading into the second phase that begins Wednesday in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

Like international teammate Dirk Nowitzki, he has received a couple of tentative approaches from foreign clubs that might provide alternative employment if the lockout extends into the fall.

If that happens, Kaman -- whose options would be increased due to his European passport -- will give any offer serious consideration.

"I totally would. I'm open to any opportunity," Kaman told ESPN.com.

"I just haven't got to the point where I know what's happening with the NBA yet. I want to at least wait to October to figure out if there's going to be any kind of talks about the season. We'll see what happens then."

EuroBasket 2011 has marked a return to international play for the 29-year-old who represented Germany at the last Olympic Games in Beijing after acquiring a passport via ancestral links with the country.

The Germans have welcomed him back, but despite his strong defensive play -- and the usual stellar performance of Nowitzki -- the team has a tough route to contend for a spot in the top six, which would guarantee, at least, a crack at next summer's Olympic qualifying tournament.

With a roster filled largely with younger prospects, having two NBA All-Stars might not be enough to get the victories required over Spain, Turkey and Lithuania to stay alive after a poor first round. The schedule, Kaman concedes, is intense and grueling.

"Five games in six days is always tough," he said. "That's a lot of games in a short amount of time. Ultimately, I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team win.

"I haven't played basketball since April. I'm getting there. But there aren't a lot of games, so you have to be on your toes and be ready to play. It's a long tournament. It's tough to be away from home sometimes. You just have to push through and play the best you can."

A loss to Spain on Wednesday would give Germany an almost impossible mission to rescue its ambitions. Keeping the center combo of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka under control will be pivotal to Germany's hopes of an upset win over the reigning champion.

Typically, Kaman pulls no punches. Bring on the challenge, he declared.

"I'm not worried about anybody," he confirmed. "I've been playing in the NBA for eight years and I play against all these guys. Serge Ibaka, the Gasol brothers, they're all solid players, but none of them are better than Dirk Nowitzki and none of them are any better than the rest of us.

"We're all playing basketball and there is no reason to worry about any player. We just play our game and do the things we're supposed to do."

Mark Woods is a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland, whose work appears regularly in British publications.