Clippers center Chris Kaman said in an interview with FanHouse after Thursday's 105-85 loss to Denver that Lakers big man Pau Gasol doesn't deserve to be in the All-Star Game.
"I don't think Gasol should be in it at all,'' Kaman said when asked if he would be disappointed if Gasol, who starts at power forward for the Lakers, is slid over to be the backup center when West coaches vote for All-Star reserves. "He's only played like 20 games (he played Thursday in his 25th out of 42 Lakers games) this year. I think there should be a number of games you should play. I think you should have to play like 80 percent of the games.
"It shouldn't be 50 percent (of games a player has logged) over a guy who plays 90 percent and who has better numbers. Not just me. Zach Randolph, a power forward, he has better numbers (than Gasol). But he's not on the Lakers.''
"I don't think he's a center,'' Kaman said.
Kaman believes coaches, who in each conference vote as reserves one center, two forwards, two guards and two other players at any question, should vote for at least one player who starts at center. However, an NBA official has said votes for a player who doesn't start at center but sometimes plays the position, such as Gasol, Randolph and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, are accepted.
Regardless of position, Kaman believes he's a more deserving All-Star than Gasol. He also believes he would be a better choice than Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who is averaging 15.4 points and 8.4 rebounds, if coaches voted for a player who starts at center.
"I think I'm more deserving than Andrew Bynum,'' Kaman said. "I'd be disappointed if they put Pau Gasol in front of me. If they put Bynum (ahead of me), it would be disappointing but it would be easier to accept.''
The Clippers are 18-23 and the Lakers are 32-10. But Kaman doesn't believe that should help the All-Star chances of Gasol and Bynum.
"Some people probably go with the records,'' Kaman said. "The Lakers are a hell of a team. Nothing you can really do about it. If I get in, I get in. But I think (my) numbers are better. But my team hasn't won as many games.
"But we also don't have Kobe Bryant on my team either. Put Kobe Bryant on my team or LeBron James on my team -- that's nothing against the guys on my team now -- but, if we had a superstar, it changes the complexion.''
Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy agrees Kaman should be an All-Star. He also said he would be disappointed if coaches voted for a power forward to be the backup center.
"First of all, I don't think any of the power forwards are better than (Kaman),'' Dunleavy said. "I think he's a better power forward than any of the power forwards. So it shouldn't be an issue. His numbers got to be as good as their numbers anyway. I'd be disappointed (if Kaman isn't an All-Star).''
As for the battle of Los Angeles, the Lakers lead the season series 2-1, but Kaman and Gasol have not faced each other in any game. Kaman has played in two of the games, but missed the only one Gasol played. In the duel at center in the two games in which Kaman did appear, he averaged 19.5 points and 15.0 rebounds to 20.5 points and 13.5 rebounds for Bynum. So that was a push.
As for Kaman meeting up with Gasol, the final chance of that happening in the regular season is April 14. But the rivals could duke it out in the first round of the playoffs if the Clippers can make it.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson