The New Orleans Hornets are actively shopping Chris Kaman, who was not with the team for its home game Friday night against the Orlando Magic, as the league-owned Hornets are listening to offers for the veteran center's services.
The Hornets have decided to deactivate Kaman until they can find a suitable trade suitor for him after making the organizational decision to delegate his minutes to younger players. Despite not being injured, New Orleans elected to sit Kaman for Wednesday's loss at Oklahoma City as well.
"We've informed Chris that we are looking into possible trades and he was understanding about the situation," Hornets general manager Dell Demps said. "We're working together on this. Chris has been the ultimate professional since he joined us. In no way is this a disciplinary action. We had discussions about extending his current contract when he first came to the Hornets, but the organization decided to go in a different direction."
The Hornets acquired Kaman in December as part of the blockbuster deal that sent the face of the franchise, Chris Paul, to the Los Angeles Clippers. However, Kaman's expiring contract and the fact that the Hornets want all of their young guys to get minutes have sent trade rumors swirling around him since he arrived in the Big Easy.
Kaman being shipped out of New Orleans is an inevitability at this point. Since the franchise, which is off to a (3-15) start, is clearly building for the future. Let's take a look at our picks for the top three potential landing spots for the veteran seven-footer.
3) Orlando Magic - Why not? The Magic are coming off a blowout loss to these same (3-15) Hornets on Friday night, something that simply shouldn't be happening with the talent on that roster. If Dwight Howard didn't already have one foot out the door to bolt for free agency this summer, there's no question he does after tonight's inexplicably pathetic performance from his teammates.
The Magic need to do anything and everything to convince Dwight to sign a long-term extension with the team, because without him, they are nothing. Maybe bringing in Chris Kaman to be Howard's backup and occasionally play alongside him will give Orlando the jolt in the arm they need to start scoring more than 70 points per contest and actually winning some ball games.
Obviously bringing in Kaman alone won't keep "Superman" grounded in Orlando, but if it could potentially turn their season around, the Magic should definitely consider it. Howard's lack of patience for losing has become synonymous to Superman's weakness in Kryptonite - being around too much of it equals an early exit. Kaman could help prevent that.
2) Portland Trail Blazers - Kaman would fit in perfectly with the identity that the Blazers are attempting to instill on their roster. He's the perfect pro's pro, and I'm sure delegation master Nate McMillan could easily manufacture some minutes for Kaman in Portland's rotation. McMillan preaches team-first, and Kaman is probably one of the most unselfish players in the league today.
You can never have enough quality 'bigs' on your roster, and let's be honest - we all know at one point or another that Greg Oden will get hurt again and eventually be cut. Boom. In steps Chris Kaman to save the day. I think Kaman could probably bunk up with his old buddy Marcus Camby up in 'Rip City' too. Sounds like a perfect match to me.
1) Dallas Mavericks - I did a lot of thinking about this third choice, and ultimately decided on the Mavs' for a couple of reasons. First, the departure of Tyson Chandler to the Knicks thanks to the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement has clearly taken its toll on this Dallas team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Now, Kaman's not an All-NBA defender, but his strength and length in the paint is something the Mavericks could definitely use. Also, did I mention who they currently start at center? Brendan Haywood. I don't know about anyone else, but the combination of Haywood and a disappointing Lamar Odom doesn't exactly imbue me with much confidence looking forward if the Mavs' hope to have any shot at defending their title.
Oddly enough, the defending champs might be the team most in need of taking a flyer on Kaman. Mark Cuban, I suggest you start working the phones.