Chris Kaman: Could He Be the Missing Piece for the Indiana Pacers?

Sam QuinnContributor IIIMarch 11, 2012

Indiana should try to add the caveman
Indiana should try to add the cavemanJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rumors have swirled for months about Chris Kaman. He is the lone veteran on a team comprised of players who haven't yet reached their potential, and others who simply have none.

New Orleans is quite simply terrible. Losing Chris Paul and David West has forced them into a premature rebuilding phase that the owner-less franchise will likely need years to get out of.

The Indiana Pacers have inquired about Kaman, according to Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star. True low-post scorers are a rarity in today's NBA, and what makes him even more valuable is his expiring contract. Those two factors are among the biggest reasons Kaman is a perfect fit in Indiana.

Though Indiana would appear to be set at center with Roy Hibbert (who made his first All-Star team last month), the former Hoya is by no means an elite scoring threat. He scores 13 points per game, but many of those come on put-backs and other less polished means of scoring. Hibbert is far more valuable to Indiana as a defender. 

Outside of Hibbert, the other Indiana big men really prefer to stay on the perimeter. David West is far more effective as a jump shooter than as a banger, and the same could be said about Tyler Hansbrough. The Pacers need someone who can give them easy points in the paint. 

Kaman can do that. People seem to forget this since he's been buried on terrible teams for his entire career, but at his best Kaman can play at an All-Star level (he made the team in 2010, only two years ago). He could form an effective platoon with Hibbert to keep opposing teams off guard. As we saw with Memphis last spring, nothing swings a match up better than a low-post advantage.

The financial side of this deal makes it an even better fit. The cash-strapped Hornets would probably prefer not to take any money back in dumping Kaman. Luckily for them, Indiana has enough cap space to comfortably take on Kaman's deal. Since it's an expiring contract, I doubt Larry Bird would have any qualms about adding any money to this year's cap. 

What this does is that it allows Indiana to make a deal with New Orleans without breaking up their rotation. The cap flexibility they have would likely allow the Pacers to deal only a draft pick for Kaman's services. Most teams would have to give up someone in their top nine to get a starting caliber center, but the Pacers could add him for nothing. 

Indiana is in their best position since the Artest Melee. While it is unlikely that they'll be able to stand up to Chicago or Miami, they are definitely capable of making it to the second round and creating a nice buzz around Indiana. If they have the chance to add Kaman it could allow them to advance further than they have in half a decade.