If this season has taught us anything so far, it's that everybody loves tall guys. Even if you're twenty-nine, injured, and love hunting as much as Chris Kaman does. We first referenced the New Orleans Hornets effort last week to trade their newly acquired Center, by way of the Chris Paul to LAC deal, and yesterday morning David Aldridge of NBA.com laid out the six teams he thought made the most sense as trade partners for Chris Kaman. Everybody wants him, I guess.
Those teams and DA's reasons are as follows:
Atlanta: With Al Horford out for the season the Hawks need someone in the middle, and Kaman would certainly help. But New Orleans would have to take at least some salary back -- like Zaza Pachulia, who has a year left on his deal -- or, maybe, Marvin Williams, along with an expiring contract like Kirk Hinrich's and Atlanta's first-round pick -- which wouldn't be that good, given the Hawks' likelihood to be in the playoffs. But the Hawks have been reluctant to get anywhere near the luxury tax, and unless they were just renting Kaman for the rest of this season, it would be hard to re-sign him and avoid exceeding the threshold next year.
Houston: The Rockets are always looking for bigs. But what young roster pieces does Houston have that the Hornets would like? At first glance, don't see any. But if Rockets GM Daryl Morey starts concocting one of those three- or four-team deals he loves to put together, who knows? New Orleans would surely like that first-round pick that Houston got from the Knicks in the Tracy McGrady deal a couple of years ago, but the Rockets aren't giving that up.
Portland: The Blazers have a lot of young pieces, like Luke Babbitt and Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams. They have a potential breakout player in Nicolas Batum, who is chapped he didn't get a contract extension, and though the Blazers have always said Batum was off-limits trade wise, they need a long-term solution in the middle to ultimately replace 37-year-old Marcus Camby. They also have an owner who can easily write a $3 million check. (If we were really feeling conspiratorial, they also have a former No. 1 overall pick in the Draft who hasn't been able to stay healthy, and who probably could use a change in scenery to a place with next to no expectations for him.)
Cleveland: The Cavaliers wouldn't deal Tristan Thompson, obviously, but they have the requisite expiring contract in Antawn Jamison, and they have a bunch of future first-round picks -- one from Sacramento and a couple from Miami.
Golden State: The Warriors have one Monta Ellis, a scoring machine from nearby Jackson, Mississippi, that they could offer, pretty much straight up, for Kaman. But Ellis has two years and $22 million left on his deal, a price tag that could be too rich for the Hornets/NBA's blood. And if the Hornets genuinely want to keep Eric Gordon -- another Pelinka client, by the way -- an Ellis deal wouldn't make sense.
Washington: The Wizards surely would move Andray Blatche, just as the Hornets would surely say no. And my understanding is New Orleans is equally uninterested in getting Rashard Lewis's massive $22 million deal -- which can be bought out next summer for $10 million -- on its books. The Wizards won't part with their soon-to-be Lottery pick. Would probably take a three-way deal to get enough assets down to Nawlins for Kaman to come to D.C.
As a Cavaliers fan, I'd consider crying in response to the idea of Cleveland trading anything more than just that expiring contract of Antawn Jamison for Chris Kaman. If they give up a future first round pick for Chris Kaman right now, they'd set the rebuild back three years. No offense to DA on that, I have heard similar rumblings of the Cavs being interested in this possibility, and they do employ no real center, but it just wouldn't be an idea I could embrace.
I don't see why the Warriors would trade Monta Ellis straight up for Kaman either, Ellis is kinda like way, way, better than Chris. Maybe GSW has some type of real issue with the whole Monta and Steph Curry being able to harmoniously play together thing though, and this would serve as a way out of those $22 million dollars remaining on Monta's deal. In exchange they'd get a big to play alongside David Lee and improve in that capacity at least I guess.
Washington makes sense, especially with Andray Blatche being hurt, and their season is pretty irrelevant right now anyways so I guess it wouldn't matter. Atlanta, Houston, and Portland make the most sense to me though. The Hawks could still be a playoff team, and if they had to unload any of those names DA mentioned above to get Kaman I'm sure they'd strongly consider it. Houston would also probably like to eventually get that center they were robbed of by David Stern when he didn't let Pau Gasol go there, so the Rockets make sense to me too here. As do Portland, who could really maybe make a serious push with Kaman inside along with LaMarcus Aldridge, and then Marcus Camby.
As more news and hysteria continues to unfold in the race to get Chris Kaman, we'll be sure to keep you posted.