Will Chris Kaman be the Bulls new Big Man?


Feb 17

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I decided Tuesday to go see the new Phoenix Suns and not because of Amare Stoudemire, whom I’m quite certain will not be a Bull, or play for any other team, at least after this week is over. And not only because Stoudemire’s wife and kids were sitting with Suns owner Robert Sarver for Tuesday’s game.

Though a 140-100 win over the Clippers here Tuesday with another game against the Clippers Wednesday hardly sets up a must-do-something situation for the Suns.

The Suns with an 81-point first half had their best and biggest win of the season, even if it was difficult to tell if they were playing a different style under new coach Alvin Gentry, who replaced Terry Porter Monday. That’s because the Clippers were without centers Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby, the latter out with an ear infection, and then lost their last big man, Zach Randolph, with a brain infection when Randolph stepped on, taunted and then hit Suns reserve Louis Amundson. My guess is Randolph gets suspended for a few more games.

And by the time he returns, perhaps he’ll have some new teammates from the Bulls.

The Bulls aren’t getting Stoudemire and they aren’t getting Chris Bosh as both teams essentially confirmed their stars aren’t about to be traded.

But I found Kaman here and he thought he could be with the Bulls—or some other team—within a few days, even if he says he probably won’t play for a few weeks as he recovers from a torn plantar fascia. The Clippers, though, continue to maintain they aren’t dealing Kaman and haven’t heard any significant offers.

“I’ve heard a lot of rumors,” Kaman said. “I’ve heard Charlotte, Chicago, Utah. I’d heard about Phoenix when there was a lot of talk (about Stoudemire), Dallas. Like I’ve said, I can’t control that.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” said Kaman, who was candid and matter of fact when discussing a potential trade. “I play hard and rebound and play good defense. I’m a pretty good scorer in the paint. I’m just trying to get better. Hopefully, I can stay where I’m at. I love playing for the Clippers even though we’ve been struggling so much. I’m in a routine with the people around here. I don’t think I have to go anywhere, but it’s a business and I can’t control that.

“I don’t know why I’m being shopped so much,” said Kaman. “I heard the Bulls, but they did not say for who. It wouldn’t matter. I’ve got a little bit of (big man) skills. The Bulls are kind of lacking in that. Nothing against the guys they have. But they are young and inexperienced. A lot of teams need a big guy. We have three good ones. And we can’t get any wins. Amazing. It’s crazy.”

Kaman, 26, has played just 15 games this season, averaging 13.9 points and 9.4 rebounds. Kaman also had injuries last season, missing 26 games, though with mostly minor things like an ankle sprain and sore back. But Kaman also began to break out last season, averaging 15.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. He is regarded as inconsistent, though I’ve had coaches tell me Kaman is one of the most skilled big men in the NBA because he can play inside and out, rebound, defend and shoot.

He’s talked openly about his Attention Deficit Disorder. But I’d be as interested in him as Stoudemire or Bosh because Kaman is a seven footer and a true center and is under contract for three more seasons after this one. You can build around he and Derrick Rose, even if Kaman doesn’t seem an All-Star type player. He even has a short haircut now. That balding long blond hair look didn’t help his reputation as something of a flake.

And though coach Mike Dunleavy continues to say he’s anxious to see a rotation of Randolph, Camby and Kaman, few seem to believe that is feasible.

“I’m not going to have a lot of games left this season,” Kaman admitted. “I’ll just get out there, get my lungs in order, do something to show the fans and everyone else I really do care. I really want to play. It’s frustrating for me to sit out. But it’s the cards I was dealt. There’s not much I can do but get ready.

“Coach Dunleavy is going to have a tough time right away trying to fit everyone in and trying to make everyone happy (when I come back),” Kaman said. “But that’s not what it is about. It’s about trying to win games. Zach does a great job inside and out. He’s an unbelievable player, pretty much unstoppable. Camby does a good job moving the ball, passing to get other guys shots, knocking down shots and also playing unbelievable defense. He’s savvy, knows how to play the game and one of the best defensive players I’ve ever played with.

“When you’ve got two guys like that it’s hard to put someone else in there,” Kaman said. “Me being out so long, they’re not even used to playing with me. Since I’ve been out Eric Gordon has stepped up, Ricky Davis has come in. A lot has happened since I’ve been out. I don’t want to come in and mess anyone up, but we’re 13-40, so I don’t know what damage I can do. There have been a lot of talks. I spoke to my agent and three or four teams have offers, but the Clippers turned them all down. That’s something a player shouldn’t worry about. All I want to do is get back healthy so I can play.

“I think a lot of times you hear rumors and don’t know what’s true,” said Kaman. “If I get traded, I get traded. If I don’t, I don’t. I’ll just play hard. Chicago (supposedly) threw some players out there. I guess the Clippers didn’t like what they offered. I don’t know exactly who or what. I just heard they are interested. I can play anywhere. I think my game works well with a lot of players. I don’t want to get traded, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s a business and you have to look at it that way.”

One Bull—at least former—was traded Tuesday when Tyson Chandler went to Oklahoma City for Joe Smith, Chris Wilcox and the draft rights to DeVon Hardin, who was selected No. 50 overall by the Thunder in the 2008 draft. It’s a heck of a deal for a young Thunder team and still keeps them just enough in the race for the top draft pick and perhaps Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin. They could be building something impressive there.

There’s also rumors of the Bulls involved in some talks with the Memphis Grizzlies with speculation about Thabo Sefolosha. The Grizzlies rarely use point guard Kyle Lowry anymore and the Bulls were high on him coming out of college. Though such discussions could not be confirmed.

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