Well that was quick. How many of you predicted Chris Kaman wouldn’t last long in New Orleans after the Clippers packed him up in a box and shipped him out cross country? It’s not that we thought he wouldn’t like it there. He probably loves it, and could’ve taken over Aaron Gray‘s resident spot on the roster as the big, wild outdoorsman. But the Hornets are destroying and rebuilding like we’re back in 2001 listening to Stillmatic. Kaman is only 29 and was an All-Star just two seasons ago. But he refused to accept a diminished role. Playing 20 minutes a game in the Bayou wasn’t going to keep him happy. Now, he’ll be someone else’s treasure.
So who wants a 7-0 center who is a career 11.7 points, 8.3 boards a night player? The Spurs, Rockets and Warriors have already either contacted the Hornets or been acknowledged as a team that could be interested. So have the Pacers. But the Hornets â€“ err, the men who currently run the Hornets â€“ have been known to drive a hard bargain, and they want expiring deals, young talent and draft picks. Good luck with that.
How soon will Kaman be swapped? If he agreed to grow out his beard until he found a new home, he could possibly approach James Harden levels. Here are five teams that should make a move for him.
*** *** ***
I caught up with Joe Johnson last week, and while Al Horford‘s injury caused everyone to sour on the Hawks, he still believes in them. I can’t, at least until they add another low post scorer. They have some bait â€“ Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Kirk Hinrich â€“ that could serve at least financially (I don’t know anyone that’ll categorize those guys as “young talent”). I don’t believe New Orleans will find any takers given their current price, and once you lower the tab, the Hawks are one of the next teams on the list. They have decent contracts to give away, and could throw in a few first rounders. New Orleans might not be down at first, but even if Kaman is just a rental for a year, the Hawks should go after him.
The little brother constantly getting his ass beat. No team took more shots over the past year than the Rockets, and even now that they’re positioned to make the playoffs, no one actually believes they will. Like Atlanta, the Rockets can’t guarantee a great deal, but they need a low-post scorer. Luis Scola isn’t going to scare anyone in the playoffs, and Samuel Dalembert isn’t anyone’s idea of a go-to post player.
The Rockets have a number of young assets â€“ Goran Dragic, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, Marcus Morris, etc. â€“ that could be appealing to the Hornets. They also have a first-round pick owed to them from the Knicks because of the Tracy McGrady deal, but as David Aldridge reports, you’ll have to pry that from Houston’s cold, dead hands.
The Cavs have to be at the top of the Hornets’ list of potential suitors. Antawn Jamison‘s time in Cleveland has run its course, and he has a massive $15 million expiring deal. They’ve also stockpiled first rounders: their own, Sacramento’s and two from Miami.
At the start of the season, potentially giving up a draft pick or two to get someone like Kaman would’ve been stupid. But the Cavs have a legit chance at the playoffs. This is the East we’re talking about. 8-11 gets you a shot, and if the Cavs can add someone who can score inside, they’ll have some scoring to help cushion Kyrie Irving‘s inevitable rookie wall. Name me their best inside offensive player right now. You can’t. Jamison doesn’t post up much anymore, and Anderson Varejao never did.
Boston hasn’t had a solid low post threat since Kevin Garnett lost his legs. Right now, their best go-to weapon in the post might actually be Paul Pierce. Garnett and Brandon Bass are jump shooters. The rest of the C’s bigs aren’t out there for any other reason than to draw a charge and grab a rebound once in a while.
Boston’s problem is they have nothing of value. Jermaine O’Neal has an expiring deal, but no one wants him if it means only $6 million off the books. I doubt the Celtics trade Avery Bradley, at least not yet. Who else is there? As far as possible expiring deals, it’s Ray Allen and a bunch of bench filler. But the Boston Globe is reporting that Danny Ainge hasn’t quite lost his mind. Boston does have interest, but would rather see Kaman agree to a buyout with the Hornets rather than trade for him. Knowing what New Orleans brings to the bargaining table, that might end up as Boston’s only shot.
I love Portland’s roster about as much as anyone’s in the league. They are deep, versatile, long, athletic and skilled. With that maniacal homecourt advantage, I keep saying they’ll go deep in the playoffs this year, even if they continue to blow games each week. But outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, that frontline might give them 12 back-to-the-basket buckets all season. Marcus Camby has 51 points this entire season. Kurt Thomas hasn’t scored on anything other than a 15-footer in probably two years. Craig “The Rhino” Smith doesn’t know what “touch” is.
Kaman isn’t the most efficient post player. In fact, he sucks at handling double-teams, and turns the ball over quite often. But the Blazers’ top seven scorers shoot these percentages: 50, 42, 49, 36, 43, 37 and 34. It’s doubtful they’ll be able to re-sign Nicolas Batum. He’ll want starter money, and that’s going to Gerald Wallace. Why not get something for him instead of taking the risk?
Who do you think should trade for Kaman?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.