NBA Trade Speculation: After Chris Kaman, Will New Orleans Continue to Deal?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJanuary 31, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 09:  Greivis Vasquez #21 of the New Orleans Hornets drives with the ball against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets as Hornets head coach Montey Williams (R) looks on and Nene Hilario #31 of the Denver Nuggets and Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets battle for position at the Pepsi Center on January 9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Hornets defeated the Nuggets 94-81. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Chris Kaman, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul trade, is no longer spending his days on the court with the New Orleans Hornets. As the Hornets prepare to trade Kaman, they have made him inactive. As reported, Kaman isn't practicing with the Hornets, as well as sitting out of games.

The Hornets are getting a decent number of calls for Kaman. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers. The Boston Globe reported that the Boston Celtics are interested, but would like Kaman's contract bought out.

Also, The Plain Dealer reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested.

Of those teams, the Spurs and Rockets seem most interested. Both have a fair share of young players and expiring contracts.

With realistic suitors to make a deal with the Hornets for Kaman, the next question is whether the Hornets will make a deal besides Kaman.


Who Realistically Could Be Dealt from the Hornets?

The Hornets don't have many expensive expiring contracts aside from Kaman. Carl Landry, 28, is making $9 million in the last year of his deal. He probably isn't a trade candidate since his starting potential on other teams isn't great and teams looking at a lottery pick wouldn't give the Hornets a first-round pick for him.

Besides, he since he has yet to hit his peak, Landry could re-sign with the Hornets for a short-term deal at a reasonable price after this season.

Marco Belinelli is the only other player with an expiring contract. Shooting 38.2 percent from the field, Belinelli wouldn't pique any team's interest.

Trevor Ariza and Jarrett Jack are the only players with significant contracts expiring next year, although Ariza has a team option for 2013-14. Ariza, who makes $6.79 million this year and $7.26 million next year is good enough to interest teams, but the Hornets might not get a meaningful young, cheap player in return unless he goes in a package.

Jack, who makes $5.22 million and $5.58 million next year, could attract some looks, but he's the most valuable player on the Hornets right now, leading the team in scoring and assists. Would the Hornets deal the player who has kept them reasonably competitive?


Conclusion: Another Deal Possible, But Suitors Must Be In Need of Role Player

Hornets head coach Monty Williams sent the message to his players that if they lag, any of them could follow Kaman to the trading block. He said, "[We] are getting ready for who is going to be here in the future. Because these are the times you have to stand up and be counted."

Loosely speaking, Hornets players are being watched. The Hornets front office is trying to figure out who will be a part of the future as the NBA finds an owner for the team. The NBA is trying to ensure that the Hornets don't run a huge budget for the next owner to take.

Teams that trade with the Hornets should be aware of what they might be acquiring. Eric Gordon is likely off the table since he's injured. They certainly won't get any old veterans, since no Hornets player has reached 30. Since only a couple of Hornets players are starting material for other teams, suitors should hope for a role player like Ariza who can shoot a bit.