Chris Kaman Says Dirk Nowitzki Was a Big Part of the Reason Why He Signed With the Mavericks

July 13, 2012 – 8:45 am by Chris Fedor

The Dallas Mavericks made the decision before the start of last season to focus more on their future cap situation as opposed to trying to defend their NBA Championship. They came into this offseason armed with money to throw at some of the top free agents, with Deron Williams being the number one target. They missed on bringing the Texan back home. Then they saw two key veterans, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, bolt for New York and Boston respectively. An offseason that was supposed to be so good for the Mavs has turned awfully dismal. The team did make their first signing though by bringing big man Chris Kaman to Dallas on a one-year deal. Two years removed from being an All-Star, Kaman has struggled with injuries. Being re-united with German national teammate Dirk Nowitzki might be exactly what Kaman needs to return to his old form.

Chris Kaman joined ESPN Radio in Dallas with Coop and McMahon to talk about his decision to sign with Dallas this offseason, if it was Dallas all along, how he thinks he and Dirk Nowitzki will fit together, when this deal with Dallas finally came to be and how tough it is to play on a one-year deal.

On his decision to sign with Dallas this offseason:

“Free Agency wasn’t what I anticipated. It went a lot slower than I thought. I didn’t know what to expect. Last time I just did an extension and there wasn’t a lot of negotiating going on. It was all new for me. I went through the teams. Back and forth, back and forth and I wanted to be somewhere I felt comfortable and obviously knowing Dirk, I’ve known Mark (Cuban) for a few years talking back and forth and just thought it was a good decision for me.”

Whether it was Dallas all along:

“Early on my agent Rob Pelinka told me that they were interested and then just trying to figure out what kind of deal they were looking at and that kind of stuff. Then Indiana, had met with them and had dinner with some of their guys and it was close to home and they were really very inviting and it seemed like a good fit for me and the style they played was kind of more my style so I was just waiting to see what happened there with the whole matching (Roy) Hibbert. They made the decision to match Hibbert so I knew I had to figure something else out and it worked out really well for me.”

If he thinks he and Dirk Nowitzki can fit together well:

“I think he’s more outside first and then inside second. I think they’ve always kind of spaced the floor and kind of stretched it a little bit because there’s been a lack of scoring inside and I’m excited to see what Coach Carlisle has. I know in the past he has had teams with good post players so I know he’s a good coach and I know he knows what he’s doing and I’m just excited to see what happens next with the team. It’s a different team than they have had the last few years with no Jason Kidd and no Jason Terry. It will be interesting to see how it goes.”

When the deal with Dallas came about:

“It actually happened in the last couple of days. I had been going back and forth between Portland and Dallas. They were both very close and the offers were both very close and it was just kind of a call where I felt a little more comfortable and I really liked Dallas the city and the organization does a great job of taking care of their players and their people. I’m excited for the chance to see what I can do there.”

How scary it is to play on a one-year deal:

“It’s a little bit scary. Not the playing part but if you get hurt. You have one year and I think teams know what I can do and know what I’m capable of. That wasn’t the issue this summer. It was like a lot more younger guys were getting signed and older guys had to kind of wait their turn. I think I’m right in the middle there. I’m not old but I’m not young. I’m kind of right in the middle. I just turned 30 and I think I have four or five good years left and hopefully I can extend it even further where I can continue to play at a high level. I wanted to come in and get a three or four year deal and then I kind of took a one year deal that was on the table and what I felt comfortable with. You just have to keep working hard do the best you can to stay healthy. That’s the biggest thing, just staying healthy.”

Listen to Chris Kaman on ESPN Radio in Dallas here

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