NBA Trade Rumors: Hornets Must Keep Chris Kaman's Expiring Contract

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 11, 2012

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 09:  Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets takes a shot over Timofey Mozgov #25 of the Denver Nuggets 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

When the NBA finally gets around to finding a real owner for the New Orleans, the $14 million that comes along with Chris Kaman's expiring contract will be a valuable asset that needs to remain in place.

Kaman must be kept in New Orleans, at least until a real owner is found. The trouble is that according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the people running the Hornets don't quite see things the same way. 

The expectation persists that the Hornets will deal center Chris Kaman sooner rather than later even though they've brought him back to the team and let him play 31 minutes in Wednesday's heavy loss to Chicago after initially sending Kaman home to wait for a trade and announcing that playing young players would be the coaching staff's priority.

He added: 

The Hornets are said to be seeking at least one good future draft pick or young player for Kaman, but getting even that much has proved difficult to land to date, presumably because of Kaman's ability to become a free agent in July.

The Hornets need to thank the powers that be that making the move is proving difficult. This is the best thing for the team.

An owner is going to be kept away from buying a team with a massive contract that has multiple years remaining on it. This is especially true when we're talking about a good role player, but nothing more than that. 

In the salary cap era, it is nearly impossible to bring in big name free agents with players like that on the roster, especially in a comparatively small market such as New Orleans. 

But if an owner is looking at a roster with $14 million coming off of the books in a season then there is pretty good reason to buy the team, knowing that you can turn it into a lot more.  

That is $14 million that can be spent going after star players. More to the point, it can be spent attracting several good, young players that lack the superstar name.

That is a great way for small market teams to develop winners. If money is dispersed to several quality players and you have a roster of somewhere between eight and 10 good players to rotate in, you then have a squad that can compete with those that have two or three stars with a light bench. 

If Kaman is dealt, money is going to have to come back New Orleans' way. There is absolutely no guarantee that those contracts will be expiring. 

This is not a gamble that the league can take with a team that they own. If someone is going to make that move, it has to be an actual permanent owner of the team. 

Until that person is found, the Hornets are far and away best leaving Kaman on the team. Finding another $14 million is just not going to happen and any potential owner will know that.