Chris Kaman to the Houston Rockets is the best possible deal the New Orleans Hornets can make to move the 29-year-old center. The Hornets would get everything they want in a deal—the young players, draft picks and expiring contracts. The salaries would reasonably match up to Kaman's $14 million figure.
Moreover, sending Kaman to the Rockets is a real possibility for the Hornets. According to Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated, the Hornets and Rockets are discussing the possibility of a deal involving Kaman. Amick elaborated that the Hornets are looking at Houston big men Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill.
Also, the Hornets want the 2012 first-round draft pick the Rockets received from the New York Knicks.
For the deal to go through, the teams must get approval from the league's front office, since the Hornets are owned by the NBA. This seems like the kind of deal David Stern would approve.
First, the Hornets get at least two young players for Kaman, who has been inactive since being placed on the trading block. Jordan Hill, who has put up 5.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, would be a nice piece for the future in the Hornets frontcourt. For now, Hill can share minutes with Emeka Okafor, spelling Okafor for 20 minutes each game.
As long as the Hornets decide to re-sign Hill after this season, he could grow into a starter in two or three years.
Hill is making $2.86 million and has a team option for next season.
Would trading Chris Kaman to the Rockets be a good move for the Hornets?
Thabeet, who has played sparsely this season, isn't much of a consideration for the Hornets future. He'd be included in the deal mainly because he has an expiring contract and possesses a salary ($5.1 million) that brings the figures close to matching up. The Hornets could release Thabeet after the deal is made to further save money.
Adding another young player, like Terrence Williams, who makes $2.37 million, to the deal would bring the numbers closer to matching up.
The first-round pick would give the Hornets another piece for the growth of the team. If the Knicks end up missing the playoffs, the Hornets could get a promising player for their lineup.
Several other teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers, are interested in Kaman. However, the Cavaliers wouldn't be able to give the Hornets decent young players, especially since Kyrie Irving is off limits, according to The Plain Dealer. The Spurs have plenty of young players, but might be more interested in developing them.
Also, the Spurs wouldn't be able to send the Hornets a high draft pick like the Rockets could.
The Hornets are looking to move Kaman to clear cap space as the NBA looks for a new owner for the team. The NBA wants a slim Hornets budget as they search for a new owner.
Houston and New Orleans aren't close to a deal, as Amick noted in the aforementioned article, but this is an item to watch. As seen in the Chris Paul trade, Stern is particular about what he wants in a trade involving the team the NBA owns. This possible deal has those pieces.