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Trading Chris Kaman: Houston Rockets Edition

Chris Kaman has been been a consummate professional since joining the Hornets, and, if we're being honest, he's really been a lot more than that. He's embraced the city entirely, taking in its various sights, interacting with users on the internet, showing interest in how fans watch the Hornets on television, and just generally being highly appreciative of a situation that was thrust on him abruptly and, it could be said, antagonistically.

It's why yesterday's announcement that the Hornets are actively looking to trade him is saddening, even if Kaman has only been with the team for a month. But here we are. Kaman has likely played his last game as a member of the New Orleans Hornets, as Dell Demps/David Stern attempt to find a suitable landing spot.

Yesterday, we were given some insight into potential trade partners:


Wojnarowski went onto clarify that the Jazz were interested at one point but that Kaman doesn't make too much sense in their loaded frontcourt now. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix also corroborated the Houston Rockets' inclusion on the list, and also added that the Boston Celtics are interested but don't believe they have the pieces to get a deal done. Wojnarowski also noted later that the Hornets' current asking price is "draft picks, cap space, and a young player," something most teams have balked at.

We'll start today by looking at how a Chris Kaman to Houston trade could happen, and gradually work our way to the other teams over the next few days. Jump!

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.

So with that, it's off to the Rockets themselves.

Houston Rockets

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

Kevin Martin $11,519,840 1sts Owed 2nds Owed 1sts Owned 2nds Owned
Luis Scola $8,591,793 '12 (lotto) '12 '12 NYK (top-5) '12 MIN
Samuel Dalembert $7,000,000 '13 '15 LAC
Kyle Lowry $5,750,000
Hasheem Thabeet $5,127,720
Jonny Flynn $3,414,720 Exceptions
Jordan Hill $2,855,760 None
Terrence Williams $2,369,040
Courtney Lee $2,225,093
Goran Dragic $2,108,000
Patrick Patterson $1,959,960
Marcus Morris $1,823,280
Chase Budinger $854,389
Chandler Parsons $850,000
Jeff Adrien $762,195
Greg Smith * $35,000
Ibby Jaaber * $15,000
Damian Saunders * $5,000

The Rockets will get their own '12 pick if it's in the lottery; if it is not, it belongs to the Nets. The Rockets also own a 2012 first round pick from New York, as long as it isn't in the top 5. The Stepien Rule indicates that a team cannot trade away consecutive first round picks. So theoretically, I don't see how it's possible for the Rockets to include the Knicks pick in a trade without stipulating that it is only included in the case that they retain their own pick. If you remember back to the original Lakers deal, some reports had the Knicks' selection as part of the secondary version of the trade, but it was unclear whether this stipulation existed (as I assume it must to stay within league regulations).

You'll notice that the Rockets have no trade exceptions, making Hasheem Thabeet's $5M+ contract a relatively important bargaining piece (assuming Houston wouldn't want to part with Martin, Scola, Dalembert, or Lowry in any form of Kaman trade). If we also assume that Chandler Parsons, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, and Marcus Morris are off limits as well, then any two of the following players, along with Thabeet would be a legal trade: Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, Terrence Williams, Goran Dragic, and Courtney Lee. Of that group, I'm a fan of Hill and Lee and not so much one of Flynn.

So to summarize,

Plus Assets Houston Might Give Up:

1. 2012 New York 1st round pick (very unlikely)
2. Jordan Hill (unlikely)
3. Gordan Dragic
4. Courtney Lee
5. 2012 Minnesota 2nd round pick (to complete our collection!)

Random Pieces That Make Trades Work

1. Hasheem Thabeet
2. Jonny Flynn
3. Terrence Williams

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

Here's the ESPN Trade Machine (appears to have been updated to the new CBA/150% rule) to play with. Let's keep the discussion limited to the Rockets for now; we'll get to the Pacers, Spurs, and the rest of 'em real soon.

Free muffins to the creator of the best Rockets deal!