The Difficulty in trading Kaman

Published: January 27, 2012

The Hornets are actively looking to move Chris Kaman, but finding a suitor might not be as easy as you might think.

According to Dell Demps today, “We had a conversation with Chris [Kaman] and expressed that the Hornets are going to go in a different direction. We mutually decided for a number of reasons that we are not going to play Chris as we pursue a trade. Chris has been the ultimate professional during this process and we thank him for the way he has handled this situation.”

The Hornets have shelved center Chris Kaman while seeking a trade, partly because they want to get their young bigs some playing time, and partly because they don’t want to see him get injured before they can move him. Considering Kaman’s injury history, this is a pretty smart move by GM Dell Demps, who is hamstrung by a couple of CBA rules that is making it difficult to trade CK35.

The Hornets can trade Kaman today, but they could not include any other players in the deal per the CBA. They would have to wait until mid-February before they could include him as part of a package. Also, as part of the CBA, the Hornets also have to take back salary that is relatively close to the salary they are given away- within 150% to be exact for teams below cap, and within 125% for teams above it. Kaman is on the books for a little over 12 million this year (disregard the salary on Hoopshype, because that includes his 15% trade kicker), meaning that the Hornets have to take back between 8.2 and 18.5 million dollars when trading Kaman to make the deal work, and to get Commissioner Stern’s approval. Sorry, I had to go there.

The problem here is that there aren’t many big expiring contracts out there, and the Hornets don’t want to take back long term contracts in a deal for Kaman. They would ideally want a big expiring contract to make the trade work under league rules and an asset or two like a pick or a young guy on a rookie contract. The Milwaukee Bucks, for example, have a guy just like that in Larry Sanders. They also have a need at center now that Andrew Bogut is out for 2-3 months. The problem? They dont have the expiring contracts required to make the deal. Same goes for teams like the Lakers, the Spurs, or Magic, who are in win now mode and could use a backup center like Kaman for the stretch run.

However, there are a few teams that have the need and the combination of contracts and assets to make the deal work. The Hawks are without Al Horford and don’t really need point guard Kirk Hinrich now that Jeff Teague has emerged. Hinrich, a pick, and Jason Collins for Kaman would work for both teams and would be approved by the league. The Celtics could use an upgrade in the middle as they make one last run, and have two first round picks in this year’s draft that they can pair with over the hill center Jermaine O’Neal.

Rockets and Jazz are said to be showing interest as well according to Yahoo Sports, and both teams have the type of young assets and picks that the Hornets could covet. Houston has their own pick and the Knicks pick, along with young bigs in Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet. Meanwhile, Utah is still owed picks from the Nets, and could easily get a third team involved who might be interested in Al Jefferson, as they swap him out for a more conventional center and a guy on a shorter contract. Pacers are also interesting because they are significantly under the cap and won’t have to come within the 150%. Theoretically they can trade for Kaman and not have to put a penny of returning salary in the deal.

But overall, the market would be much bigger for a 7’0 center with low post moves if not for the odd combination of CBA rules and very specific needs that the Hornets have in this case. Perhaps the Hornets could get a third team involved, or wait until mid-February and package Kaman with another contract they would like to get off the books for a shorter bad contract and assets (Kaman and Ariza for SJax, Larry Sanders, and a top-10 protected pick?).

No matter what, this will be an interesting plot line to follow and another semi-genius move by Demps. He wanted to see if this team could make a run at the playoffs, but once he saw that was not a possibility, he shut down his asset before he got injured and Dell got nothing for him. The league knows what Kaman can do. He is not a savior, but he is not a goat either. He will give some contender a top of the line big off the bench, and will only cost a first round pick or two in the 20’s.

And Demps will have yet another intriguing asset with which to wield his magic.


  1. Bee dat

    January 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    atl also has pachulia’s expiring in addition to hinrich, making them the most likely trade partner, especially as they are centerless and playoff bound

    gstate needs a center and has kwames expiring slong with brush who they chose not to extend and a pick

    hou also is looking at the playoffs and could use some depth up front. they will probly part with jonny flynn and or jordan hill who they chose not to extend along with the possibly meritless thabeet

    philly as well could use depth at c for a playoff run and has nocionis expiring to pair with a pick or a youngster, i’m dreaming that would be evan turner

    all in all some decent possibilities

    • Bee dat

      January 27, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      forgot to mention boston who have playoff aspirations, no center, and the expirings of j oneal and rasheed wallace to pair with avery bradley (or stiemsma or jujaun jonson and a pick)

  2. Bee dat

    January 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    damn tumblewolves keep winnin

  3. KC NOLA

    January 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    A trade for Kaman to Houston would be nice if we get Flynn and Thabeet or even Flynn and the 1st round draft pick would be even better.

  4. J

    January 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Kaman to the Rockets for Tabeet,Dragic and Lee 2012 1st

    Kaman to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson,Gary Neal and Tiago Spillter

    Kaman to the Pacers for Granger,Hansbrough and George Hill but thats a long shot or Kaman for Collison,Hibbert and Danatay Jones but with indy is difficult because they only way they’ll give up the frist rd pick if Gordon is involved

    Kaman to the Bucks for Carlos Delfino,Shaun Livingston and Ilyasova you get 2 expiring contracts another til 2013

  5. J

    January 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Hornets-Magic-Celtics trade

    The Celtics get Howard and Turkoglu

    The Magic get Kaman,Paul Pierce and Celtics 2012 1st rd

    The Hornets Jermaine O’Neal Brandon Bass,Anthony Bradley Celtics 2012 2nd rd we know this wont happen

    • Hornetsky

      January 28, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Well…you said it yourself.

    • Chuck

      January 28, 2012 at 1:19 am

      Ummm…if all it took to get Dwight Howard was an old Paul Pierce, a crappy first rounder, and several bags of chips, the league would be a much more exciting place

    • Ryan

      January 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

      why would we wanna get jermain oniel?

  6. HiMyNameisSteven

    January 28, 2012 at 12:06 am

    TO miami for norris cole and a like james jones or whoever makes the contracts work as long as its an expiring contract

    • Bee dat

      January 28, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      i thoght about cole too and looked into it. miami has no other contracts we’d accept to make the deal work

  7. Brandon

    January 28, 2012 at 3:02 am

    I think the trade will be Chris Kaman to Houston for Johnny Flynn, Jordan Hill, Hasheem Thabeet and a 2nd round pick.

  8. J

    January 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

    The Lakers have 2 1st rd picks lets get one of them in a 3 team trade

  9. David

    January 28, 2012 at 9:01 am

    The best thing about trading Kaman (who has been great since he’s been here, especially off the court. Really wish there was a way for him to stick around), is apparantly there is a lot of competition for him, therefore driving up the price. I like Houston – Courtney Lee, Jordan Hill, Knicks 1st round pick for Kaman. Rockets have 4 guys on rookie deals that will be restricted and weren’t extended – Thabeet, Hill, Terrance Williams, Flynn. All those guys are basically expiring contracts.

  10. da ThRONe

    January 28, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I feel like we’re trying to trade the wrong people. Kaman is an expiring conntract and gives us flexibilty. Guys like Okafor and Ariza with multiple years for large amounts of money should be the guy we look to move on from. This current roster has only one championship core player Gordon. Guys like Emeka and Trevor are complementary pieces being paid like core guys.

    • Jason Calmes

      January 28, 2012 at 11:00 am

      You have to attract them to the table.

      Then you get figure out what’s best . . . get this, give that, etc.


  11. NO-CHI

    January 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Go for either Kirk Hinrich and some big like Pachulia from Atlanta, or Maybe let’s go with Brad Miller and Marko Jaric, (neither of them have big long contracts, both are between 4.2-5 million and last for 2 years, and Miller can shoot from deep.)

    Kirk Hinrich’s skillset is perfect. He’s a combo guard (Del Negro’s favorite perimeter lineup in the Boston series was Rose, Gordon, Hinrich), can shoot from outside, guard 1, 2, and 3, an excellent ball handler, and he HUSTLES.

    Takes defensive pressure off of Ariza, and offensive pressure off of Belinelli AND Jack. HE’S PERFECT FOR OUR TEAM!

    FYI —— Could we shoot Jason Smith over for DeMarcus Cousins as we can trade Smith?

  12. Ignarus

    January 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    It makes sense on one level to keep Kaman safe while seeking to trade him, but it stinks of blatant tanking and it’s only a *third* of the way into the season. Anybody who bought season tickets this year should get a refund because the Hornets are basically still locked out.

    At least the Hornets should pretend they see *some* value in trying to win games. It’s a little sickening that there’s absolutely no downside for the organization in doing this.

    I know there’s a lot of parallels to what every other team does when a veteran who isn’t going to stick around gets brought in as part of a trade, but it’s hard to cheer for a team that found an even more direct shameless way to exploit the benefits of losing.

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