A month ago, the Hornets sent Chris Kaman home so they could find a suitable trade partner for him and simultaneously get some minutes for young guys like Al-Farouq Aminu, Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon. The San Antonio Spurs reportedly were interested in Kaman, but the Hornets were asking too much in return.
It now seems things have changed. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports the price for Kaman has come down greatly in the last month.
“Kaman will almost certainly be moved. New Orleans has no use for him and simply wants to get something — even if it’s just a second-round draft pick — for him, according to sources. A month ago, when the Hornets told Kaman to stay home and wait to be traded, they were asking for a young player, a draft pick and an expiring contract. Now, their aspirations aren’t so lofty. Golden State, Houston and Miami have interest in Kaman.”
This is both good news and bad news. It’s good news because the Spurs didn’t have the assets to give New Orleans what they wanted. Now they may just be looking for a second round pick and certainly the Spurs can offer that to the Hornets. They could even offer a guy like Cory Joseph, which would give coach Monty Williams a young, defensive minded point guard to groom. They could offer a guy like Danny Green, Gary Neal or James Anderson since two of three guys are likely going to get their minutes reduced once everyone gets healthy. And they have their draft picks they could also throw in. Figure Joseph and a second round pick would be enough for the Hornets.
Now for the bad news.
Kaman is in the final year of his contract, makes $14 million this season and the Spurs don’t have the cap space to take on his contract. The only way the Spurs could make this trade work is if they can convince the Hornets to take back Richard Jefferson’s contract. That’s two years and $21 million after this season. The Hornets already owe Trevor Ariza $13 million after this season, though they could always amnesty him. Essentially the team would save a little money this season, but long term would be in a worse position. Additionally, you have to wonder if the NBA would OK a trade that brings an extra $20 million bucks worth of payroll while they’re trying to sell the team.
If the Spurs can get a guy capable of getting a double double on any given night and not give up any key pieces to their future, I’m sure they’ll try. But to convince a smart GM like Dell Demps and a caretaker ownership to take on more salary just to dump Kaman is asking an awful lot. Maybe they’ll do it, maybe they won’t. But after watching them get killed on the boards during the first half of the Bulls game last night, I sure hope they’re doing something to shore up that front line.
In case you’re wondering here’s how one potential Kaman trade would work.