NBA Trade Rumors: New Orleans Hornets Must Deal Chris Kaman Before Deadline

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 28: Chris Kaman #35 of the New Orleans Hornets puts up a shot past Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on February 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets need to get maximum value for Chris Kaman at the trade deadline. Since the team currently sits in last place, there's no reason to keep a veteran with the potential to become an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Kaman has been in the middle of trade speculation for several weeks now, but Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD reports the Hornets are having second thoughts about dealing him since the franchise might be sold in the near future.

Sources say [Mike] Dunleavy feels like he can get both of his former players signed to new deals, so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out because Chris Kaman was viewed as someone who would absolutely be moved, now that certainty is not so clear.

There's no doubt Kaman can be a valuable contributor when healthy. He's been playing a lot better as of late, including six double-double performances in his last seven games, which means his value on the open market should be high.

No matter who purchases the team, the owner has to be realistic. Kaman is 29, his contract is running out and the Hornets are still quite a way from being contenders. He'll be past his prime by the time New Orleans is ready to be a legitimate threat and his trade stock may never be higher.

The Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers are among the teams that have expressed interest in Kaman, according to FOX Sports and, respectively. His market would surely increase as the deadline neared and his status became more clear.

Instead of remaining on the fence about dealing him, the Hornets should make it clear Kaman is available to the highest bidder and see what type of offers roll in.

When deadline day arrives, whichever team offered the best package of draft picks and/or young players gets Kaman. Whatever New Orleans receives is sure to have a much larger long-term impact on the team than the longtime Clipper.

And that's what it's all about for the Hornets. The future. Kaman is playing really well, but it's always better to sell high than to hold onto an asset for too long—especially when that asset can walk out the door without yielding any return in a couple months.

Hopefully the Hornets' brass realize that before it's too late.