RUMOR: Pacers Reportedly in the Mix for Chris Kaman

Down in the Bayou, the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets are reportedly trying to unload the recently acquired Chris Kaman. He is a decent center who can put the ball in the hoop who, until becoming a component of the Chris Paul trade, had played his entire career losing games as a Los Angeles Clipper.

It’s not so much that New Orleans has no use for the guy: he is a post threat and can rebound. It’s just that his play has fallen off since his All-Star year in 2009-10, he is a free agent this summer, the team isn’t exactly trying to make a playoff push this year, and with the similarly overpaid Emeka Okafor already on the roster, they likely have no interest in bringing him back next season. So If they can get something back for him rather than losing him at the end of the season for nothing, why not?

From the other front office’s perspective, the Pacers’ need for a guy like Kaman is obvious. Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough have done a fine-enough job mopping up the back-up center minutes while Jeff Foster has been missing most of the season so far, but that plan will likely look a lot less appealing when the playoffs roll around and Jeff remains an injury risk.

So there could be something to this report that the Pacers could “be the leading candidate” for Kaman from Jimmy Smith, who works for the best-named newspaper in America. (via ESPN)

According to Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune, the Indiana Pacers may actually be the leader to land Kaman and he writes: “A league source said Wednesday night that the Indiana Pacers, one of several other teams reportedly in the mix for Kaman, could, in fact, be the leading candidate for a swap. The Pacers apparently are looking for a backup to Roy Hibbert.”

The Pacers currently have $14.27 million in salary cap room and they could absorb Kaman’s $14 million cap number without sending a player to the Hornets.

What Pacers fans should be concerned about is what Indiana has to give up to get Kaman.

It’s possible that Indiana could sure up their front-court depth issues without giving up much. The Hornets would obviously want something back, but I can’t see Larry Bird giving up any of players New Orleans would covet (Tyler Hansbrough, George Hill, Paul George) unless this turned into a much more complex deal. Maybe Bird would give up a future draft pick and perhaps that would be enough. The Pacers are (I think) the only interested party that could just take the whole salary and it’s possible that simply not having to pay Kaman the bulk of the $14 million he is owed this year would be enough for whoever is making the personnel/fiscal decisions in New Orleans.

We’ll see. But the addition of Kaman, as a half-year rental, does not strike me as anything worth giving up an significant asset for. You’re probably not going to win a title this year with or without him. And while it is understandable to want to push this season as far as you possibly can, the ultimate mission of this front-office should be building a team that could truly contend in 2013 and 2014, not giving up assets in an attempt to try to win two or three more playoff games in 2012.

Tags: Chris Kaman New Orleans Hornets

  • da1truwarrior1

    Why should Pacers fans be concerned Bird will give too much? He has meticulously planned the building of this team for 3 years now… I don’t see him mortgaging it now! We are 1 year from being SERIOUS contenders for the title, although I believe we have a shot now… Giving up key pieces for Kaman is a shortsided move… I saw where we were likely offering Amundson, a 2nd rounder and absorption of Kaman’s remaining entire 9.5 Mil… That seems fair, as I believe everyone else wants Hornets to eat atleast 5 Million Bucks… In Bird We Trust

  • Derek U

    “the ultimate mission of this front-office should be building a team that could truly contend in 2013 and 2014, not giving up assets in an attempt to try to win two or three more playoff games in 2012.”

    Agreed. He’s not worth giving up any talent at this juncture, unless it’s lou or pendergraph. He could be a great piece to have off of the bench tho, so long as it doesn’t cost anything.

  • Adam (The Maestro) Stout

    I totally agree. I think to give up a second round draft pick (or even a protected future first rounder) would be well worth it to get Kaman for the remainder of the year, especially since we have to sign someone this year at some point just to get over minimum payroll. I would also part with Amundson or Pendergraph, but I don’t think I’d give up one of them and a draft pick at this point (though I wouldn’t fault Bird if he did).

    If we get him, it shouldn’t cost us much of anything, and if he makes a significant impact, he may still re-sign for a lot less money. I think our team is exactly the kind of team he would enjoy playing for, so if he’s impactful, that could go a good ways in a new contract negotiation.

  • Joe B

    Losing Hill for the foreseeable future means losing veteran court presence and scoring potential. Essentially buying Kaman and shipping Amundson plus a future second round pick to replace what has been lost with Hill’s injury (arguably more, if Kaman can regain form–he seems depressed, almost), is a good move. The Pacers have shown they are willing to risk future draft gems (hard to find in the second) for quality, proven players who can benefit from a change of scenery and renewed opportunity.

  • dwain

    This years draft seems (potentially) pretty deep, leaves me wondering what a second round draft pick might really be worth, point guard wise, and while i welcome the addition of Kaman’s big size i have to think that a vet play running point (scoring) guard would be a better fit for this team. DC’s awesome last game aside….sure would be nice to see Nash in a Pacers uniform.

  • Derek U

    The price of a Nash isn’t worth it.. Why?! this team isn’t winning a championship, why give up your future for now?

  • dwain

    agreed, can’t give up the future to get a Nash, but his team is in the same bind that Kamans is, if anyone could pull off the deal that doesn’t break up this great core and adds Nash or a like player it is Larry Bird.

  • nik

    Anyone who has followed Kaman’s career (I am from Michigan and have lived near LA for the last 5 years) as I have, knows that Kaman’s value at this point is 0.00. His contract negates anything he brings to the table; it is a true albatross. Any team that trades for Kaman will A) give up their own fodder/bad contracts if they are above the tax or B) absorb his contract while giving back no players, maybe a #2 pick if below the tax. This is a fact. Indiana is in category B…. What is their cost? the pick? No. The chance to pull off this kind of trade to get a player better than Kaman. Nash is a nice example. There are plenty more that cannot be traded for if Kaman’s contract is absorbed (unless trading away the young core.) If Bird believes he cannot get that kind of upgrade which makes the Pacers contenders in 2012 (a star point guard sure would put them in the discussion) then by all means rent Kaman for the year. A big body during a shortened season? 6 extra hard fouls to give? You kidding me? Anything else he provides is a bonus

  • Jared Wade

    @Adam – Posey’s amnestied contract counts towards the minimum salary requirement so they’re already above that.

  • Lou

    Nice picture. Why would we want a meth head like that?

  • Jordan

    @Lou – Rofl, he is an extremely ugly fella’ there, isn’t he? Maybe part of his appeal is his intimidation factor. If I were posting up against a guy that looks as if he’s just as likely to keep me bound and gagged in a dark hole as he is to play defense, I’d leave the game. Walk right off the court. That bear is atrocious.

  • Aaron

    @ Lou
    Are you by any chance Amundson? Sorry, calling Kaman a meth head won’t prevent the Pacers from trading you to New Orleans for him.

    On a serious note, it is true that he won’t be winning any beauty contests, but that makes him perfect for the Pacers. He’d totally put the goon in the Goon Squad.

  • Duane Mountain

    what is this crap about nash have you people forgot D.C .Save the cash 14million for kamen no thanks. Whats up with espn they think everyone loves the heat or lakers not true .There are true fans who love thier home team.Go Pacers go colts.

  • Nick Nolte

    I party with this guy all the time when I’m in New Orleans. We went on a meth bender the other night then I drove us home.

  • keepwitdapace

    this would be great deal a good underated center would improve our second team we will still have some cap nxt year cuz of dhantey and wit west and khamen contracts not long it helps

  • mountain reply

    DC is a nice piece. He is a perfect change of pace guard to a savvy high-IQ vet (Nash, Kidd, etc) who you could put in for 20-24 min and not miss a beat. Great for certain matchups, but face it, DC is only a point guard in size. He does not set up his teammates and that is why Pacers are basically dead last in assists, why Granger has to create so much on his own (often to his own detriment) and of course why all his teammates are taking bad shots and the shooting % is so low. Plug in Nash and it is a different team. Granger plays to his strenghts. West stops being invisible. George isn’t under so much pressure to make a play. Right now the Pacers are an easy team to defend, and it will get them killed in the playoffs (2nd round.) They need some degree of unpredictability, ability to break down a defensive set and exploit it. DC can do this if the scenario involves a layup or long jumper for him. Otherwise an upgrade in IQ would be welcome, especially if DC stays and can play a strong change-of-pace role.

  • Rob Lowe

    Chris Kaman is actually retiring today.

  • Drew

    I would give up our first round pick, Jeff Foster and Lou Admundson. Our first round pick is going to suck anyway and we have all the guys we need already. This guy would fit in perfect with the Pacers and I think they could contend for the Finals with him backing up Hibbert. Plus he’s off the books next year so, you can still sign a free agent.

  • mountain

    well said Drew