NBA Trade Rumors: Why the Detroit Pistons Should Avoid Chris Kaman

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 18:  Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets fights for a rebound with Dante Cunningham #44 of the Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Arena on January 18, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

According to Marc Stein from ESPN, the New Orleans Hornets are actively shopping center Chris Kaman.

And while in the past the Detroit Pistons were rumored to be interested in Kaman, and plenty of columnists (myself included) lobbied the team to take the plunge, at this time it makes little sense for Detroit to get involved.

So why am I reversing field on this issue?

Three reasons.

First, Kaman is a free agent after this year. There are only two types of teams that pursue players that are about to become free agents. One type of team are the contenders. Teams that are about to reach the promised land take the plunge on soon-to-be free agents in the hopes that they can help get them over the hump.

Detroit did this in 2004 when they traded for Mike James and Rasheed Wallace who were both about to become free agents.

Those Pistons obviously are not part of this group right now.

The second group are teams that are looking to dump salary space. You want to get rid of some unruly contracts on your books? The best way is to trade for a player that has a deal that is about to expire, which essentially drops the entire sum of the contract off your books.

The Pistons certainly fit in this group, but they have players that are of little value to New Orleans.

The Hornets are a financial mess, so much so that they are currently being operated by the league. The league will be looking to bring back young, talented players as well as draft picks.

The Pistons could hope that the Hornets have to wait until the trade deadline when Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince become available to trade, but that seems unlikely. The Hornets will get a better offer sooner.

There is no way the Hornets would take back an ineffective and injured Charlie Villanueva or a very overpaid Ben Gordon.

They might take one or the other if the Pistons offer up their first-rounder this year, but that makes little sense considering the depth of this year's draft.

Would you take a soon-to-be 30-year-old Kaman over a 20-year-old Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond or a 21-year-old Thomas Robinson? And if you would, perchance would you share what you are smoking?

Second, the Pistons could have an interest in Kaman, but why not wait until next year to make a move? That way, you can take your chances on the draft and hope that you pick up someone like Davis, Drummond or Robinson and if not you have a perfect fallback option.

Kaman is a Michigan kid that could potentially be talked into giving the Pistons a hometown discount. If that is the case, he definitely could fit the Pistons' model of player. He is a tough, skilled big man that could help take some pressure off of Greg Monroe on both ends of the court.

For the right price, Kaman could be a great fit. So why risk dealing talent for someone that you could have a chance at next year regardless?

Third, the Pistons don't really need Kaman this year.

Okay, what do I mean by that? If Kaman could be a fit next year, why couldn't he be a fit this year?

This part will sting a little, and it is tough for me to write it, but here are the facts. The Pistons need to bottom out this year. They need to lose as many games as possible to ensure a high pick. They also need to give as many minutes to their current roster in order to weed out the foundation of the franchise from the future ex-Pistons.

Bringing in Kaman will make the Pistons a middle-of-the-road team in a very weak Eastern Conference.

With Kaman, the Pistons might be able to make a run at the playoffs. Who would that help? They get to face Miami or Chicago in the first round and get annihilated in four games. Then they miss out on the lottery and are forced to select from a group of players less talented than the top 14.

Plus, they will have to try to re-sign Kaman anyways after the year.

Trading for Kaman just extends the process that the Pistons need to fully embrace right now.

Burn down this village in order to save it.

Stick to the rebuilding plan—lose now to win later. Let Monroe, Brandon Knight and the others take their lumps and get valuable playing time and experience this year. Then, draft a top-notch talent high in the lottery. Then bring in veteran players that will complement your roster and provide leadership.

Kaman is a prime example of someone the Pistons should want.

They just need to wait until after the season to pursue him.


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