The Clippers moved to reach a long-term contract agreement with Chris Kaman on Sunday night, offering the productive 7-foot center a five-year, $50-million extension, team sources said...
It was unclear whether Kaman and Pelinka had discussed the offer and informed the Clippers of a decision. Under NBA rules, Kaman has until Oct. 31 to accept.
If the offer is rejected, Kaman would become a restricted free agent after this season, and the Clippers could match any offer he received from another team. Kaman, who has a salary of almost $3.5 million in the final season of his contract, also could decline the offer, sign a one-year deal with the Clippers this summer and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2007-08 season.
Kaman has an interesting decision. On one hand, Samuel Dalembert signed a six year/$58M contract with Philadelphia in August 2005. The previous summer, Eric Dampier fetched seven years/$73M. So what the Clippers are offering Kaman is a contract with fewer years and less guaranteed money than what two inferior centers were able to...well...extort from Philadelphia and Dallas.
On the other hand, Kaman could get hurt; he could take a step backwards; he has a franchise and a coach that have maximized his talents and understand what kind of basketball most suits his game. On top of that, he is the beneficiary of a power forward alongside him that makes life a helluva lot easier for him on both ends of the floor. Where is Chris going to find another PF that draws the kind of double team in the halfcourt that EB commands on the other block? [Well, there's KG] In short, the Clippers' style of basketball is uniquely suited to Chris Kaman.
I have no earthly idea what Kaman will do. It wouldn't surprise me if he and Pelinka decide to go the Olowokandi route and sign a one-year tender after the season is over, then test the market as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. Make no mistake: odds are that he'll get a better offer on the open market, be it an offer sheet after this season or as an unrestricted FA after '07-'08. There's a cruel irony for the Clippers that, by utilizing him perfectly and making Kaman a better player, they're actually driving up his price.
Addendum/Correction/Glaring Omission to the Cool-City/Crappy-Team Index: I was remiss in not including Toronto on the list. In fact, I'd rank it right there with New York in the (2) slot, though, like Minneapolis, the snot-freezing climate during the NBA season warrants caution.