Source: Pacers Leading Candidate To Trade For Chris Kaman
By Jimmy Smith, The Times-Picayune
Another day, and another rumored destination for Hornets backup center/forward Chris Kaman, still in limbo and away from the team while New Orleans attempts to negotiate a trade that will satisfy another NBA team and the league office, the de facto team owners.
On Wednesday, SI.com was reporting that the Houston Rockets had moved to the front of the suitor line, with various offers of young players and draft picks, apparently the price the Hornets have placed upon any potential deals.
Hornets General Manager Dell Demps was unavailable for comment.
According to the website, talks have revolved around two of Houston’s young players who were top 10 picks in the 2009 draft, center Hasheem Thabeet and power forward Jordan Hill. Thabeet was the second overall pick that year by Memphis; Hill was the eighth overall choice by the Knicks.
The magazine also said second-year forward Patrick Patterson and third-year point guard Jonny Flynn were discussed, along with Terrence Williams, a small forward. The Rockets also have the rights to the Knicks’ 2012 first-round pick.
A Houston television station was reporting Wednesday night that, according to their sources, SI’s report was inaccurate as it related to players involved. The station said the chances of the Rockets trading for Kaman are slim.
Earlier this week, NBA.com indicated Kaman could not be traded until Feb. 14, but that was not correct. He could not be dealt along with another Hornets player before Feb. 14 under new collective bargaining agreement rules.
However, Kaman could be traded singularly at any time. Because he has a $14 million expiring contract, the Hornets likely would not package him with another current player that would add another contract that would complicate the mathematics of the deal.
The Hornets are not obligated to take back any salary in a trade for Kaman, according to sources, and a team acquiring him would only have to part with $9.3 million in player salaries according to league rules, not $14 million.
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.
Cleveland, Golden State and San Antonio also reportedly have expressed interest in Kaman, who has not played since Jan. 23, was inactive on Jan. 25 at Oklahoma City, and was told two days later to stay away from the team as it attempted to negotiate a trade. Kaman’s last appearance with the team was Jan. 27 at the morning shootaround.
Kaman’s image has already been excised from the team’s pregame video shown in the arena before introductions.
LINEUP CHANGE: Hornets Coach Monty Williams made a last-minute change to his starting lineup, inserting DaJuan Summers at shooting guard in place of Marco Belinelli.
In the Hornets’ past six games, Belinelli has scored in double figures just twice, 15 points in the win over the Magic, 12 in the Jan. 23 loss to the Spurs.
“You want to try to inject something that you haven’t had,” Williams said. “Maybe put a guy in a different position where he can succeed. Hopefully have your team play the same style, but give somebody else an opportunity to inject something into the team that hasn’t been injected.”
Summers started three games earlier this year at forward in the absence of Trevor Ariza, who was out with an injury.
Belinelli checked into the game at the first timeout with five minutes to go in the first quarter. He ended up playing 23 minutes, scoring 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, 3-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line.
Summers played just 16 minutes and scored five points.
BIG 12 MINUTES: The Hornets’ 32 second-quarter points tied the most the team has scored in any quarter this season.
HILL SITS: Suns forward Grant Hill, 39, sat out the second half of Wednesday night’s game because of soreness in his right knee, which was surgically repaired in the offseason.
Hill, a one-time teammate of Williams when the two played for the Orlando Magic, played 11 minutes in the first half and was 1-of-3 from the field for two points, and grabbed one rebound.