Dallas Mavericks center Chris Kaman is not happy with his new bench role, and he had to bite his tongue when speaking to ESPN Dallas' Tim MacMahon after playing just 11 minutes in a 110-95 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday:
"I'd rather not talk about it and get myself in trouble if I say some things I shouldn't."
Kaman has started 33 games this season, but Mavs coach Rick Carlisle moved him to the bench for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs in favor of Elton Brand. Kaman played just 12 minutes in that game before the season-low 11 minutes on Sunday.
Carlisle made the switch because of Kaman's struggles playing with frontcourt mate Dirk Nowitzki. Prior to the Spurs game, the Mavs were a minus-11.1 points per 48 minutes when both Kaman and Nowitzki played together. Contrast that to a plus-2.0 points per 48 minutes when Brand and Nowitzki shared the court.
Nowitzki himself has noted the problem playing with Kaman, saying they both struggle on the defensive end. Brand is a much more steady presence on that end and can help cover for Nowitzki's issues. The move did not help Dallas against San Antonio, as the Mavs gave up 113 points in a loss. But things turned around in the win over the Suns.