NBA AM: Don’t Count On A Chris Kaman Buyout
No Buyout Coming For Kaman: The 2012 NBA Trade Deadline came and went yesterday for the New Orleans Hornets without a deal involving center Chris Kaman.
The Hornets tried for weeks to find a deal for Kaman, but over the last month the team’s asking price for the seven foot Kaman remained too high considering his $14 million ending salary.
The immediate speculation is that the Hornets would look to lower the remaining $3.9 million they owe Kaman and buyout the balance of his contract at a discount.
Hornets’ General Manager Dell Demps said yesterday that nothing is off the table, but that their first choice is to finish the season with Kaman and possibly do a new deal with him.
“Everything is always a possibility,” Demps said to Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune. “I mean there’s no reason to say I’m certain, 100 percent sure. There’s always a possibility. I never want to say never. But our intention is to keep Chris.”
“We’re open to everything. We value Chris,” Demps said. “The door’s not closed on him. I think he’s had a good season. He’s proven he can score the basketball. As we move forward, he’s been very impressive, especially in the last few weeks. The door is not closed on Chris. We’ll have his Bird rights this summer, so we think there’s a lot of opportunity still with Chris.”
Kaman admitted that he’d heard the rumors and speculation, but really did not see a deal dropping yesterday.
“I didn’t anticipate being moved after all that whole situation before when they couldn’t find a trade, or a trade didn’t work out that they had. I just kept hearing that things were kind of dead,” Kaman said. “I heard my name a couple of times the last couple of days, but mostly by you guys and some other people that I know in the media. I hadn’t really heard anything solid. So here I am to finish out the season with the Hornets.”
Kaman said he’s open to signing another deal with the Hornets this summer.
“Yes sir, certainly,” Kaman said.
NBA teams have until March 20th to reach buyouts with players and still have enough time to clear waivers before the March 23rd playoff eligibility deadline.
That rule only applies to players that were on a roster for this season which includes players such as free agent Gilbert Arenas.
Players who were not a on a roster this season are eligible for the post season up until the last regular season game.
Might Be A Buyout In Diaw’s Future: The Charlotte Bobcats tried desperately to trigger a few deals. The biggest of those deals involved Boris Diaw, who has a $9 million expiring contract.
The Bobcats thought they might have a deal with New Jersey who went in another direction, leaving the Bobcats without a dance partner.
Word is the Bobcats want Diaw gone yesterday, and are involved in buyout talks to rid themselves of his deal.
Diaw has not handled the losing in Charlotte well, and his temperament for what’s happening around the team has him on the outs with just about everyone.
Diaw’s camp had inquired about a buyout before the trade deadline so it’s clear that Boris is willing to give up a little bit of money to get out of Charlotte, so expect that to drop in the next few days.
Lakers Thrilled With Sessions: The LA Lakers told everyone that they were not breaking up their Big Three of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, but we just didn’t listen.
The Lakers did pull off a couple of deals that on the surface may not have seemed as sexy as some of the things they were linked to, but the truth of it is the Lakers are a better basketball team today and they shed a ton of bad contract dollars in the process.
In dumping Luke Walton and Jason Kapono off on the Cavaliers in exchange for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga, the Lakers shaved $1.58 million off of this year’s salary, which is a luxury taxed figure so really is saves the Lakers more than $3 million this year, but also jettisons the final $5.8 million of Walton’s deal next year as well.
The Lakers had to toss in their 2012 draft pick and the right to swap picks with Cleveland in 2013 using the Cavs’ rights on Miami’s 2013 pick to get the deal done, but word is the Lakers didn’t want the guaranteed salary of a draft pick this year so it worked out in their favor.
The Rockets deal which brought in Jordan Hill is a little more emotional, because it sent out long time Laker Derek Fisher. The Rockets have already started buyout talks with Fisher so he may not be long term for Houston, even though they could clearly use his leadership.
Before you get too far on a Laker re-union after a buyout, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement closed that loophole. Fisher cannot rejoin the Lakers until July.
The Rockets deal also saved the Lakers dollars today as the difference between Hill’s salary and Fisher’s salary is about $800,000, but factor in luxury tax and that’s $1.6 million more saved in the deal. The Lakers had to include the 2012 draft pick they obtained from Dallas in the Lamar Odom trade, but again they did not want the guaranteed contract associated with that pick.
At the end of the day the Lakers got younger and faster and more importantly did not give up any of their core pieces to clean up the roster financially.
And did I mention they finally got a playmaking point guard?
“It’s an area we felt we had to address immediately,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said to Elliott Teaford of the LA Daily News.
“We’ve been trying to get it done since you know when,” Kupchak said.
“We felt we had done it. But a lot of deals in this business go to the last moment, and (Thursday’s) was no exception. You try to push as much as you can to get something done early.
“For some reason, it always comes down to the last minute.”
“We think Ramon will make an immediate impact,” Kupchak said. “Despite Derek’s presence, we felt that we needed more speed and quickness in the backcourt. … We didn’t feel that we could get a better or more talented player than Sessions.”
The Lakers put their house in order going forward and solved real and immediate needs today.
It’s rare that you see a team correct its roster without stepping backwards in a huge way, and the Lakers did that while moving forward.
It cost them draft picks, but to be honest those players likely were not playing major minutes next year in LA anyway.
What those picks cleaned up was worth more than what they’d bring to the table anyway.
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Wolves’ Put Onus On Beasley: The Minnesota Timberwolves did the dance with almost every teams in the league on something, however when the trade deadline passed yesterday the Wolves are the same team they were before it.
Wolves’ forward Michael Beasley was the most talked about player on the block, however the Wolves were unwilling to take on Derek Fisher’s contract so a deal with the Lakers did not get done.
Wolves’ president David Kahn and head coach Rick Adelman sat Beasley down yesterday and explained what they expect of him for the balance of the season, saying his future is now completely in his own hands.
“Michael is in more control of his future than even Michael recognizes,” Kahn said to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. “These next six weeks are very important to him. Michael’s made tremendous strides this year and I don’t think league wide people recognize that: He has been much more engaged in practices, much better on the bench, his commitment, everything. He’s been incident-free.
“I think it’s very important these next six weeks that he continue that path and demonstrate to the league that maybe some of the things people have said about him frankly have been eradicated because I think in large part they have.”
Beasley for his part says he’d welcome a new contract in Minnesota, but that all he could concern himself with is playing and playing well.
“I just want to play basketball, that’s it,” Beasley said. “We all got here playing ball. I just feel like the more I play, the more I produce. Just more time. That’s my knack. Just put me on the floor and I make good things happen.”
Beasley is in the final year of his contract paying him $6.26 million. The Wolves can lockup Beasley’s rights this summer by issuing an $8.17 million Qualifying Offer sheet which would make Beasley a restricted free agent.
If Beasley simply takes the offer; he could be an unrestricted free agent in July of 2013.
The Wolves have made no promises on what they will do with the former second overall pick.
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