NBA Trade Rumors: Chris Kaman off Trade Block, but for How Long?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIFebruary 6, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 18:  Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball over Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets 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

Chris Kaman returned to the New Orleans Hornets this weekend, although not to the court as he sat out the Hornets' 89-87 loss on Saturday to the Detroit Pistons.

Kaman had been inactive for more than a week as the Hornets sought to trade him. According to ESPN, Kaman is now off the trading block. However, one must wonder how long he will remain with the team.

Kaman has played a secondary role on the Hornets this season. He's been sharing minutes with Emeka Okafor, the first time in several years he's had to share floor time with someone. The drop in minutes has affected Kaman. While playing 22.7 minutes per game, Kaman is averaging 9.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He's shooting a career-low 43.8 percent from the field.

Since the Hornets struggle shooting from the outside, Kaman draws double-teams like he's never seen.


Kaman still likely to be traded

Even though the Hornets pulled Kaman from the trading block, he still looks like he'll be traded.

Kaman, who will turn 30 in April, isn't a part of the Hornets' future. Earning $14 million in the final year of his contract, Kaman is a square peg in a round hole. He earns too much to be a backup center. Also, starting him and Okafor might not work since they play the same role, and Okafor is in New Orleans to stay. He's under contract with the Hornets through 2013-14.

Thus, Kaman is an expendable player. Since this is the case, Hornets general manager Dell Demps tried shopping Kaman. Several teams showed interest. The most realistic scenario came from the Houston Rockets.

According to Sports Illustrated, New Orleans was interested in two young players, Jordan Hill and Hasheem Thabeet, both of whom have expiring contracts. Also, the Rockets hold the New York Knicks' 2012 first-round draft pick.

With expiring contracts, young players and a draft pick, the Rockets could give the Hornets everything David Stern wants them to receive in a deal for Kaman.

However, just a couple of days after this came to light, the Hornets pulled Kaman off the trading block.

A trade sending Kaman to the Rockets could still happen. The Rockets and Hornets simply might have had a rough session last week or felt the time wasn't right for a trade.

Also, the Hornets might wait to find Kaman's true trade value. They might watch how other trades go down before making their move.

For the Rockets, they might be waiting to see how much they want Kaman. They might decide they like Hill enough to keep him. Also, if the Memphis Grizzlies leapfrog the Rockets in the standings this month and the Rockets fade, they might not be inclined to trade.


Conclusion: Kaman will likely be traded in March

Between March 1 and March 15 is a realistic time frame in which Kaman will be traded. After March 1, all base year players are eligible to be traded. For the Hornets, this creates the possibility to trade for a player who has a one-year contract or to increase to possibility of a three-team deal.

Also, the Hornets can wait for other teams to deal base year players during this time. That would help clarify Kaman's value on the trade market.

Kaman's name should be followed closely in the next few weeks. He seems likely to be packaged during that time, whether to the Rockets or another team.