Trading Chris Kaman: Indiana Pacers Edition

On Friday, the New Orleans Hornets made it clear that Chris Kaman has played his last game for the team; Dell Demps, David Stern, and the front office are actively seeking trade options. Since the announcement, Kaman has missed two straight games - a home blowout of the Orlando Magic on Friday followed by a home blowout at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks yesterday. In both cases, the box score has listed him, rather uniquely as a "DNP - Organizational Decision."

The Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio have been the three reported front runners for Kaman's services via a trade. On Saturday, we looked at possible trade options with the Houston Rockets, concluding that some combination of 1. Hasheem Thabeet, 2. Jonny Flynn/Jordan Hill/Courtney Lee, 3. the lower of their and New York's 2012 1st round picks could be a possible return.

Today, let's move onto the Indiana Pacers, the home of former Hornets Darren Collison, David West, and James Posey.

From the Rockets column, here is the relevant information on Chris Kaman's contract itself:

Trade Restrictions

There are two primary restrictions that affect Chris Kaman trades

(1) he can't be moved in multi-player deals until February 14th (60 days after the Chris Paul trade). The NBA trade deadline comes about a month after this date - March 15th

(2) per the new CBA, teams that pay the luxury tax "can acquire no more than 125 percent plus $100,000 of the salaries they trade away," and teams that are under the luxury tax (after a trade has been made) "can acquire up to the lesser of 150 percent plus $100,000, or 100 percent plus $5 million of the salaries they trade away."

This means it's theoretically easier to trade Kaman's contract now than it would have been before the lockout. San Antonio is the only team among the three that is in the luxury threshold, but they're close enough to the line that a potential deal could put them under the tax (and make the 150% rule applicable).

Don't let the "150% + 100K or 100% + 5M" line confuse you too much. The 150% rule will always be the lesser up to a difference of $9.8M in the incoming to outgoing salary in the trade. More on this in one second.

Chris Kaman's Contract

Chris Kaman is due $13,672,927 this season, which includes a $1,472,927 trade kicker he received for being dealt from the Clippers. There's a little quirk with the kicker itself that needs to be sorted here. Kaman's pre-kicker salary - about $12,200,00 - is used in the calculation to match salaries between the two trading teams.

If we refer back to the 150% line for a second, this means that the Hornets have a well-defined range of contract values they can acquire back in a Kaman deal - $8.13M to $18.3M. You can see now how the 100% rule can't ever come into play in a potential Kaman deal. This is, of course, operating under the assumption that the Hornets' trading partners will also be under the luxury tax line after any trade has been completed.

A rapid summary:

- Kaman can't be in multiplayer deals till February 14th, without trade exceptions
- Kaman's salary for trade purposes is $12.2M
- Hornets must take back between $8.13M and $18.3M in any trade to a team over the cap but under the tax.

Indiana Pacers

Players, Salaries, Trade Exceptions, and Draft Pick (protection in parentheses) Statuses

Player 2011/2012 1sts Owed 2nds Owed 1sts Owned 2nds Owned
Danny Granger $12,015,904 None None None '15 GSW
David West $10,000,000
Jeff Foster $3,000,000
Louis Amundson $2,763,450
Dahntay Jones $2,700,000 Exceptions
Roy Hibbert $2,588,590 None
Paul George $2,406,240
Tyler Hansbrough $2,138,040
George Hill $1,540,463
Jeff Pendergraph $1,500,000
Darren Collison $1,455,960
A.J. Price $854,389
Lance Stephenson $810,000

Before we start - the Kaman regulations from above? Throw all of them out for Indy, except the multiplayer one. The Pacers are significantly below the salary cap ($43M) and even if they absorbed the entirety of Kaman's contract in exchange for no salaries (i.e., just a draft pick), they'd still be under the cap.

Essentially, a Chris Kaman to Indiana deal will come entirely down to agreeing to who goes where. Unlike a Houston deal, there will be no "fulcrum" piece necessary to the completion of a deal (Thabeet's $5M+ salary).

Danny Granger and David West - both $10M+ players - are clearly off limits. From there, the next biggest contract is Jeff Foster at $3M. The Pacers are very interesting that way; the majority of their important contributors are on rookie deals, including Collison, Paul George, Roy Hibbert.

Because of their lack of exceptions, any conventional multiplayer deal (where the Hornets are sending out additional players with Kaman) with the Pacers will come after February 14th. But there's one additional deadline that could come into play here. By the terms of the new CBA, any free agent that signs with a team in 2011-2012 (this year only) cannot be traded before completing two months with his team or March 1st. This rule applies to both Jeff Foster and Jeff Pendergraph. If either of these players is in a potential deal, the Hornets will have two weeks to work a trade with the Pacers - March 1st to March 15th, the trade deadline. Obviously, terms can be agreed to beforehand, but nothing could become official.

There is, ostensibly, a method of performing multiplayer deals before February 14th, assuming the Hornets are after smaller contracts. New Orleans could conceivably deal Kaman to the Pacers for cash or a pick, bringing their total payroll into the $52M range. They could turn then turn around and execute a smaller trade that was initially agreed to. In a sense, Indiana's position below the cap can serve a similar function to a trade exception in terms of bypassing the February 14th deadline.

We can run down the list of Pacer contracts and see who would reasonably be included in a proposal:

Foster - ?
Amundson - yes (expiring)
Jones - yes
Hibbert - no
George - no
Hansbrough - no*
Hill - no*
Pendergraph - yes
Collison - no
Price - yes
Stephenson - yes

Most of the no's are pretty self explanatory. The two I'm less certain on are Hansbrough and Hill. I lean "no" on Hansbrough just because he's considered a "young" player, but keep this in mind - Chris Kaman is actually less than three years older than Hansbrough. I lean "no" on Hill as well since he's such an integral part of Indiana's current setup. Foster is a wild card. Healthy, he's one of the very, very best rebounders in the NBA. The problem is that he's not healthy. Foster hasn't played in a game since January 14th, when he underwent a back procedure.

So where does this leave us? Not much further (if at all) than Houston I'm afraid. A summary:

Plus Assets Indiana Might Give Up

1. 2012 1st Round Pick (projected in the ~20 range)
2. Tyler Hansbrough (stats)
3. George Hill (stats)

Random Pieces That Make Trades Work

- Not applicable to Indiana

Ultimately, it looks like Indiana has far fewer assets to get a Kaman deal done than Houston. It will come down to who's actually willing to give up what, of course. Perhaps Indy's possible ability to make a multiplayer trade before February 14th changes things, but I don't think it's too much of an advantage.

Post up your Trade Machine creations if you so wish, and we'll review some of them (along with the Houston ones from Saturday) before the San Antonio Spurs edition of this series.

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