The New Orleans Hornets are actively trying to trade center Chris Kaman, who was not with the team for its home game Friday night against Orlando as the league-owned Hornets field trade calls for him.1) Chris Kaman makes $14 million this season and the Hawks are still over the luxury tax line. Per Sham Sports:
The Hornets have decided to shelve Kaman until they can find a trade home for him after making the decision to give his minutes to young players. Kaman had been made inactive for Wednesday's loss at Oklahoma City even though he's not injured.
[P]layers with less than two years experience that are signed to the minimum salary are, for luxury tax purposes only, counted as having the minimum salary of a two year veteran/third year player. Therefore, Greg Stiemsma's $762,195 salary and cap hit is treated as $854,389 for tax calculations, and only for tax calculations. The same is true of the first- or second-year minimum salaries being paid to Mickell Gladness and Terrel Harris of Miami, Donald Sloan and Ivan Johnson of Atlanta, and Gary Neal and Malcolm Thomas of San Antonio.2) Related: The Hawks lost $15 million last season. That's without paying the luxury tax, receiving their share of the luxury tax paid by other teams, and playing six home playoff games. Also related: There's no one with money who wants to buy the team.
3) Chris Kaman has been good and healthy exactly once in the last four seasons. A better record than Jerry Stackhouse or Jason Collins...maybe this isn't the best example. However, I doubt present-day Chris Kaman will or should be the guy for whom the Hawks go over the tax line.
4) Chris Kaman's an okay player. So is Zaza Pachulia. So is Kirk Hinrich can play. So is Marvin Williams. So might be next year's first round draft pick. The Hawks would have to give up some combination of the four to acquire Kaman. Plus, if the Hawks choose to trade another first-round pick, it should be traded for someone better than Chris Kaman if this team's going to improve significantly.
5) The Atlanta Hawks think that Jason Collins can play in a general, rather than highly specialized, sense.
6) Though the Hawks are having a very good season, so are the Bulls and the Heat and the 76ers. The Hawks' playoff chances are a function of both their quality and the quality of the rest of the conference. The Eastern Conference is seriously top-heavy. The Hawks are without Al Horford, they don't know if he'll be back for the playoffs, and being without him has made a difference:
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Is this really the season the Hawks should completely throw financial caution to the wind?
7) The Hawks already made their big move. They locked up Joe Johnson in full knowledge that doing so would severely limit their flexibility. Expecting a subsequent blockbuster trade or free agent signing seriously misreads the powers that be.