Jul 8, 2013, 4:59 PM EDT
The Lakers, by definition, were going to downgrade their center position, because they just lost the NBA’s best center. The only question was how big the downgrade would be.
In comparison to Dwight Howard, it’s pretty big.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Lakers and Chris Kaman, I've told, have agreed to terms on one-year deal—
Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 08, 2013
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Kaman will get the Lakers mini midlevel exception, Im told—
Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 08, 2013
Kaman is a pretty uninspiring choice, though it’s not as if there were more inspiring options available. The Lakers have no cap space, and amnestying Metta World Peace would have meant only a slightly larger mid-level exception to use on a free agent.
The Lakers barely made the playoffs last season with an old team and Howard. Now, they’re even older, missing Howard and will likely be without Kobe Bryant for a large part of the season. Kaman, 31, probably won’t turn that downward trajectory, but he at least slows it.
Kaman is a good mid-range shooter for his size, and he should fit well with Pau Gasol. Kaman’s size and strength make him an effective post defender, but he struggles to guard pick-and-rolls.
He’s OK, and that’s about all the Lakers could afford financially. If they’re trying to make the playoffs, I’m not sure they can afford such a downgrade on the court, though.