Outside the box Kaman trade ideas

Published: January 31, 2012

In honor of the Trade Machine relaunching today on ESPN.com, we look at the pros and cons of some crazy Chris Kaman trade ideas

The prevailing logic has been that the Hornets want to get younger, dump salary, and pick up draft picks by moving Kaman. But what if they went another direction, or added another big name Hornet to the mix? I have brought in my coworkers to set me straight on my crazy ideas, as they play the conservative role in an election year. Let’s explore some outside of the box ideas:

1. Hornets trade Chris Kaman and Emeka Okafor to the Wizards for JaVale McGee and Rashard Lewis 

Why the Hornets should do it: Yes, this is an actual rumor passed down from a guy I know who deals a lot with the Eastern Conference, but it is outside-the-box nonetheless. Technically this trade cannot be done until mid-February, due to the fact that Kaman can not be packaged with other players right now, but why not do this trade? Emeka Okafor has been playing better as of late, I will admit that, but his contract is simply too much for this team to have on its books. He is due 13.5 million next year and 14.5 million the year after that. Yes, I know Rashard Lewis has one of the worst deals ever, but it comes off the books a year sooner than ‘Mek’s and there is even a $10 million buyout option next year.

Meanwhile, McGee gives you a guy who has the potential to grow into an above average center in the league if he can get his head on straight. And if not… who cares? Just decline to match any offers he might get in restricted free agency this summer or let him walk in 2013. Worst case scenario is that you enter the summer of 2013 with 14.5 million more to spend than you currently have projected right now.

Why the Hornets should pass (Jason Calmes): McGee and Lewis are both undesirables for different reasons. Despite the fact that the money `works’ and we have to maintain a minimum salary, the potential help you get in 2013 a la Summer 2006 may not manifest, or not actually if help should it come to pass, if the team and its reputation is ruined by the division caused by a cocky kid and a guy that is more overpaid than anything thinks Emeka is by a margin that is around the degree to which Jabba is fatter than Leia.

This team is almost imaginary right now. There is a misty outline that we can faintly see only because Monty’s dream, good or bad, is so very vivid. Today, that’s all we have. Tomorrow, that’s all we have. We shouldn’t risk smashing that on the ground without a very good reason.

All moves are partly basketball, partly business, but after all the business this team has been drug through backwards and forwards, we need some basketball around here to get back on an even keel.

2. Chris Kaman and Carl Landry for Greg Oden, Nolan Smith, Luke Babbitt and Marcus Camby

Why the Hornets should do it: Basically, you do this trade so you can kick the tires on Greg Oden. He won’t be able to play this year and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but you get a chance to have him checked out by your doctors and specialists. Maybe they give the thumbs up and he falls in love with Monty and Dell the way most players do and takes a 2-3 year offer.

Nolan Smith and Babbitt are two more guys that create competition and maybe one of them sticks. Remember this trade can’t go through for a couple more weeks anyway (not to mention the fact that Landry and Oden would have to agree to it as well), but it is one that could pay off big down the road.

Why the Hornets should pass (Jason Calmes): The obvious knock on this is the specter of injury with Oden if he doesn’t fall apart when you kick the tires, but the engine explodes when you pull into Cane’s to get a celebratory “Box” after inking the big man. He’s already given up about $7.5m this season (not lockout adjusted), and while that shows that he understands that he’s played 82 games in what will amount to nearly 4 seasons, it also shows that he’d like to make up about $7.5m.

Camby would be a nice pick-up, but his deal is one year too short, the opposite of the Emeka contract issue. We need to find a Goldi-blocks, not too hot, not too cold. Swapping his expiring for Carl’s does little for us. Camby will be looking for more than a 1y deal given his age and the tax rule changes slamming down prior to the 2013 – 2014 season. Getting us into a position so we’ll have a center next season should be find a taker for Emeka would be a better move, even if said player isn’t of Camby’s quality. I’d pass on this chance to keep our Clipper quotient where it is.

3. Chris Kaman and Jarrett Jack for Corey Maggette, DJ Augustin, and DeSagna Diop

Why the Hornets should do it: The Hornets eat two awful salaries and send away Jarett Jack, who is having a career year, for the chance to land a point guard who can be a mainstay at the position for the next ten years. The Bobcats are eventually going to build around Kemba Walker at the point, and are reluctant to give Augustin starter’s money, so getting out from under the nearly 19 million owed to Maggette and Diop next year is worth it for them.

The Hornets books will be a mess next year, but will clear up just in time for the 2013 free agent class. They could be looking at Augustin, Gordon, and three lotto picks (from this year and next), plus guys on cheap deals (Ayon, Aminu, Smitty, Vasquez), and they will still have some money to hand out to free agents.

Why the Hornets should pass (Mason Ginsberg): I simply don’t see the up-side in any of the players the Hornets would be getting in return here. If the point of dealing Kaman is to get either young talent or a draft pick, it’d be difficult to find a more unsatisfying deal. The lone bright spot would be bringing back a local product in DJ Augustin who the fans would appreciate and would likely stick around for the long haul, but apart from that, it would be a pretty empty trade for New Orleans.

Augustin is obviously the main chip here for Charlotte, but quite frankly, I don’t see his ceiling as being much higher than his current level of play. He’s a slightly above-average point guard; good passer and free throw shooter, average scorer at best, awful defender, and I’m not sure if he’s actually even 6 feet tall. As for the other two? Maggette has been a total disaster this season; he may be one of the few players who would make me cringe more than Belinelli starting with Ariza at the wing positions. At least Diop fills a need for our deep front court this season – a big man that doesn’t deserve any minutes whatsoever. I think that the Hornets can almost certainly find a better deal than this one with the future in mind.

4. Chris Kaman for Andris Biedrins, Ekpe Udoh, and Klay Thompson

Why the Hornets should do it: The Hornets take on the extra two years of Biedrins contract to get two of the guys they targeted in the Chris Paul trade. Udoh has potential as a defensive minded big who can play the 4 and 5, while Monty and Dell both love Klay Thompson’s game. Thompson can evolve into an electric scorer off the bench and he also gives you a fall back option should Gordon want out and the Hornets move him for someone like Granger.

Why the Hornets should pass (Jake Madison): Out of all the trade possibilities this is my favorite but I wouldn’t pull the trigger on this for a two reasons. Udoh and Thompson have potential to be solid rotation players. However, with all the young talent the Hornets aquired in the Chris Paul trade, and the players they will add through the draft, the last thing they need is more youngsters in need of playing time. I’d much rather move Kaman for an expiring contract and a draft pick.

The second reason is the Biedrins contract. The Hornets don’t want to be adding large chunks of salary. The clock has already started on the new luxury tax penalties, and, as we get deeper into the CBA, those contracts become harder to move. I’ll pass.

5. Chris Kaman for Brendan Haywood, the rights to Nick Calathes, Dominique Jones and Rodrique Beaubois

Why the Hornets should do it: Okay, I know Haywood’s contract is beyond bad, but hear me out. The Mavericks are going hard after D-Will and/or Dwight this summer and need to clear some cap room. They can amnesty Marion or Haywood, but not both. To take Haywood off their hands, we take their three best young prospects  to either develop or package in a future deal that could get us a star or a higher pick in the draft.

Meanwhile, the Hornets continue to look to move Okafor and get a young stud center on a rookie contract in here (Andre Drummond?). Yes, Haywood will be overpaid, but J Smitty, Ayon, and the rookies will be vastly underpaid so it all balances out. Beaubois is a rare talent and can either be paired with Gordon to form an exceptional backcourt or can be moved for the right piece.

Why the Hornets should pass (Jason Calmes): We better be happy with those guys, because they are adding $15m in salary going into the 2013 – 2014 season, assuming we pick up the options on the young players (otherwise, we messed up) and not counting Calathes, leaving us with about as much committed salary as we had this past offseason. Having yet to eat dinner, I’ll say Mr. Haywood is Ruth’s Chris and Emeka is The Chicago Chop House. That is, Haywood is more sizzle and less steak for a decent price reduction.

While we do get some young back court players, we are locking up more salary at the center position, and the center position only, to the tune of $23.5 through the 2013 – 2014 season, after which the contract of the younger Emeka expires. Pulling the trigger leaves us on the outside looking in from a different angle unless we can move Emeka relatively quickly.

Also, I hate Dallas.


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