NBA Trade Rumors: Hornets Would Be Smart to Keep Chris Kaman

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IMarch 10, 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 have been shopping Chris Kaman for what seems like Dwight Howard territory (read: a long time) at this point, but they have yet to make a move.

As long as Kaman hasn't grown bitter because of that, the Hornets should just hold on to the 29-year-old center.

To start off, I understand why New Orleans has been shopping the big man. They are far from contention in the West and Kaman is a free agent after this season. If they want to get something in return for him, they would have to trade him now.

Otherwise, he leaves in the offseason and the Hornets get nothing.

But is that really the case?

According to SI's Sam Amick, the Hornets are mulling over the possibility of extending Kaman's contract.

Sources said the Hornets are considering offering the 29-year-old Kaman an extension if no trade occurs, as they are intrigued about the possibility of pairing him with shooting guard Eric Gordon, a former Clippers teammate.

So, if this has been a possibility all along, why trade the seven-footer?

When Kaman gets the opportunity to play, he's one of the more underrated big men in the league. In 19 starts this year, Kaman is averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks.

Simply put, he is a starting center in this league and would create a formidable duo with Emeka Okafor when the latter returns from a knee injury.

It's not like Kaman is a bad player or too old, holding little long-term value. He can still make this developing team better, so if the Hornets have a chance to re-sign him, they absolutely should.

And that seems to be a good possibility.

Asked if he wanted to be traded from the 9-30 Hornets, Kaman said, "No, I like the opportunity I've been given. ... I like New Orleans. I like the fans. I like the city. I've had a -- so far -- great time there."

Kaman is clearly happy and would like to say. It's hard to say that will be the case in the summer, but it's a good sign.

Also, throw in the fact that teams are apparently trying to low-ball the Hornets for their big man, and trading Kaman continues to look like the wrong move.

Sources close to the situation said the Hornets continue to talk to teams about a possible Kaman trade, with the Rockets, Warriors, Heat, Pacers and Celtics among those still interested. The Hornets, sources said, are looking for draft picks or young players to help build their foundation, and the odds appear slim that any of the teams will satisfy the league's demands.

It would be in the best interest for the Hornets to simply "hold" on to Chris Kaman.