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Chris Kaman says L.A. still belongs to Lakers, not Clippers

Center doesn't believe the Clippers, his former team, will ever achieve the same success as the Lakers.

October 28, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers center Chris Kaman says Los Angeles will never be a Clippers town.
Lakers center Chris Kaman says Los Angeles will never be a Clippers town. (ChinaFotoPress via Getty…)

Chris Kaman knows the Clippers.

He spent eight seasons with them, an eternity among so many losing seasons (seven), but he was an All-Star in 2010 before being traded in the Chris Paul deal a year later.

The Clippers dominated the Lakers last season, sweeping all four games by an average of 13 points, and became the basketball buzz of the town by adding Coach Doc Rivers during the off-season.

It's a Clippers town now? Not according to Kaman, the witty, loquacious center who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers in July. The teams play each other in the season opener Tuesday, a designated Lakers home game.

"I respect what they're doing and what they've done, but still, they're nothing like the Lakers," Kaman said Monday. "You look up here at all the championships. They're never going to have that. It's never going to happen. I don't see it.

"There's just something about the Lakers. The history behind everything."

The Lakers have 16 NBA championships, or 16 more than the Clippers. Kaman was plenty complimentary of the Clippers, though.

"Before, the owner, Donald Sterling, didn't care about winning," Kaman said. "I think it was all about save as much money as I can, get as much highlight players and still people will come watch. That's what he did for a long time."

What changed? The Paul trade, the successful drafting of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and the desire to pay top dollar to extend their contracts.

"I think [Sterling] is getting older and he wants to see the fruits of his labor and he's willing to spend some more money," Kaman said. "The year he made that [Playa Vista] practice facility, everybody knew he was kind of turning over a new leaf and kind of going a different direction. They've got some great players in there now and they're paying their players and taking good care of everybody.

"It's changed a lot over the last 10 years that I've been in the league."

Pau Gasol wasn't exactly ready to concede Clippers superiority.

He knows they're now covering up Lakers championship banners and retired numbers with large Clippers posters during Clippers home games.

"That's fine. They have to be confident," Gasol said. "They have a pretty good team and let's see how the game goes."

Kobe Bryant runs on treadmill

Kobe Bryant was back to running on an "anti-gravity" treadmill, but the Lakers were reluctant to call it a setback.

Bryant ran on solid ground two weeks ago in China, jogging for 20 minutes in an arena while the Lakers practiced.

He hasn't spoken to reporters since saying last week he "scaled back" his running. The Lakers maintain he simply tapered off after increasing the workload on his repaired Achilles' tendon. The anti-gravity treadmill lessens the impact on the body by reducing a person's weight.

A return date was unclear, though Bryant recently said he would need at least three weeks of solid conditioning before coming back to play.

Shawne Williams says he is starting

Coach Mike D'Antoni was very secretive about publicly declaring a starting power forward, but Shawne Williams had some insider information — he'll be starting alongside Gasol.

"That's what I heard," Williams said.

Williams, 27, is undersized for the position at 6 feet 7, but he's apparently a starter after being a mere invitee to training camp.

He averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in exhibition play, but D'Antoni liked his ability to stretch the floor after he made 10 of 30 three-point attempts.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

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