NBA Rumors: Chris Kaman Would Be Final Piece to Heat's Championship Puzzle

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 18:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball around 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

The Miami Heat are one piece away from completing their championship puzzle. By now it's no secret the team lacks a dominant post presence, which is necessary to survive the playoff grind, but Chris Kaman would be the perfect player to fill that void and put Miami over the top.

Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports reports the Heat are taking a long look at the New Orleans Hornets center:

Heat officials, including president Pat Riley, have been calling people who know Kaman to ask about him, a source told FOXSports.com on Wednesday.

The thinking is the Heat’s best effort to get a center would be to sign Kaman—if his contract is bought out by New Orleans after the March 15 trade deadline.

Kaman is averaging 11 points and eight rounds this season for the Hornets even though he's only playing 25 minutes per game. Since his minutes have increased over the past couple weeks his production has skyrocketed, including a monster performance on Monday night.

He'd fit in nicely with the Heat because he's not a flashy player. Miami has more than its fair share of flash between Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The team needs somebody who's willing to do the dirty work in the paint, and that's what Kaman does best.

It's no surprise the Hornets have attempted to deal the veteran as they have the second-worst record in the NBA as the halfway point approaches. They would love to get a building block for the future in exchange for him, but the report says the Heat are more likely to wait for a potential release.

That could just be a bargaining tool, however. The Heat know Kaman would have several suitors of the open market and Pat Riley, who's as savvy as they come after all he's seen through the years, could just be attempting to drive the asking price down.

Either way, the Heat can't afford to stand pat. A team like the Chicago Bulls that has two solid post players in the likes of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah would cause major issues for Miami.

Come playoff time they would attack the paint frequently, and Chris Bosh isn't strong enough on the defensive end to slow them down. It would be a matchup disaster in what's likely to be an extended series.

There are only so many reliable big men in the league, so when one like Kaman becomes available the Heat should be jumping at the chance to acquire him, even if the price is a bit steep. He's the difference between a title or another playoff disappointment.

That should be more than enough motivation to make sure Kaman's on the roster one way or another in time for the stretch run.


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