General Manager Mitch Kupchak held up a jersey and presented it to the centerpiece of the Lakers' off-season.
It was a big man, as expected, but the newly signed center was Chris Kaman, not Dwight Howard, so there was a more-than-mild difference.
Kaman doesn't have Howard's multiple All-Star appearances pedigree. But he brings a sturdy, quirky reputation to the Lakers' front line, having spent several weeks this summer at his Illinois compound to prepare for deer-hunting season but also remembering to shave his five-month-old beard before sitting down with reporters Tuesday.
Actually, it was his wife who made him cut the shaggy mess around his chin and neck.
"Yeah, who wants to see me coming in here looking like a caveman?" Kaman asked rhetorically.
Kaman, 31, will evoke laughs from reporters and fans next season after signing a one-year, $3.2-million deal to join the Lakers. But can the former Clipper still play?
He was decent two years ago for New Orleans, averaging 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds, but fell statistically last season with Dallas, averaging 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds.
Kaman battled injuries, including a 10-game absence because of a concussion, and came off the Mavericks' bench for 52 of 66 games.
He made his only All-Star team in 2010, averaging 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds that season for the Clippers, and hopes to climb back to that statistical altitude.
"I feel confident that I can be at that level," Kaman said. "Whether I'm an All-Star or not, I can't say."
After spending so many years in the same city as Kobe Bryant (eight seasons with the Clippers), Kaman is curious about him.
"You always hear a lot about how hard he works," Kaman said. "Watching Dirk [Nowitzki] this last year was impressive to me, what he goes through and the things he does. I want to see what the big deal is. His mentality is much different than most players and that's why he's where he's at."
Kaman represents the Lakers' entire "mini" mid-level exception, their lone free-agent signing impact after Howard bolted for Houston.
"We think he's going to fit in," Kupchak said. "We're very pleased to have him."
The Lakers are expected to sign rookie second-round pick Ryan Kelly and are trying to buy out Jordan Farmar from his Turkish pro team. Free agent Lamar Odom remains a possibility too, but the Lakers are unsure of his interest in playing for them.
The Lakers are "90% certain" they will add Kurt Rambis as an assistant coach on Mike D'Antoni's staff, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, though some minor details remain to make the transaction official.
Rambis was an assistant coach with the Lakers from 2005-09 before becoming the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves for two years.
Interestingly enough, the Lakers also considered hiring Luke Walton as a player-development coach but the former Lakers forward wanted to pursue his playing career at least one more season. The position was eventually filled by Mark Madsen, another former Lakers player.
Walton's contract expired last month after he averaged 3.4 points in 50 games for Cleveland last season.
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