Is Chris Kaman on the Trading Block?

The short answer is no.

Look, anyone can be traded.  MDsr has said as much in the past - that there is no one who is untouchable.  It's uninteresting to the point of banal to say that, for the right offer, anyone can be traded.  So in that since, sure, Kaman is on the block just as everyone else in the league is. 

But according to Peter Vecsey in today's New York Post, it goes beyond that:

Now that Marcus Camby (double-figure rebounding last two games) is nearing full strength, the 1-6 Clippers are open to a rational market trade for [Kaman] the big guy who has battened down their middle for five seasons and is owed $43 million over four seasons.

So, Vecsey is implying that Kaman is somehow more available today (because Camby is getting healthier, if you follow his logic) than he was before.  Of course, Camby's been a Clipper since July, and he's no more or less injury-prone now than he's ever been, so other than a knee-jerk "Camby's hurt this instant so we can't trade Kaman" - the logic is flawed to say the least.

The comments in the two FanPosts on this subject spend some time analyzing the perceived motivation and credibility of Vecsey.  Here's my take.  Citizen Zhiv is correct that Vecsey's always going to be fishing for an NYC angle - he writes for the Post after all.  So he came up with three of them in this story - former Knicks coach Larry Brown needs a big in Charlotte, and maybe Larry actually covets Kaman; Zach Randolph could go to the Clippers; or maybe Sean Williams of the Nets could go to the Bobcats.  But Vecsey doesn't even make a pretext that the Clippers are interested in anything the Bobcats have to offer - he flat out says they're not.  Meanwhile, his assertion that LA would somehow be interested in Randolph at this point doesn't really pass the laugh test.  After all, back in July the Clippers offered NOTHING for Randolph and a Knicks draft pick.  How is it possible that they would somehow be willing to part with their 26 year old center for Randloph now when they were looking for a fire sale in July? 

Zhiv's also correct to point out the telltale "1-6 Clippers" clue.  As if the Clippers are ready to start over two weeks into the season.  Does he also think that Tim Duncan is being shopped around now that Spurs have started 1-4?

All NBA columnists have their sources.  They all print myriad rumors that turn out not to be true in the end.  Obviously, if a rumored trade doesn't happen, they can always maintain that it fell through for various reasons, and that the proposal was nonetheless true - that they didn't make it up out of whole cloth.  Maybe.  It's not like anyone can prove any of this one way or the other.

I will say that Vecsey has a VERY ANNOYING habit of demeaning other trade rumors that he feels lack credibliity while simultaneously floating flights of fancy.  I noted this very thing in a post from Dec. 2006.  And in his Kaman column, he does the exact same thing.  He calls a rumored Eddy Curry for Gerald Wallace three team deal a 'whopper' and in the VERY NEXT PARAGRAPH starts a rumor involving Kaman which will, in the end, turn out to be just as false as the one he maligned (i.e. neither trade will happen). 

That does not entail importing or including Eddy Curry in some shadowy three-team train [sic] affecting Gerald Wallace. It's unclear who should be discredited for manufacturing that whopper. However, merely a minimal degree of groundwork by those who circulated the report throughout the NBA would've established its in-authenticity.

This tendency by Vecsey to insist that his poop does not stink while everyone else's smells like... well, poop, is extremely disingenuous.  It's one thing to throw the rumors out there and stir the pot for the sake of an interesting sports column.  But why does he insist on yelling "liar, liar pants-on-fire" at everyone else?

Might the Clippers be quietly (or previously quietly) entertaining offers for Chris Kaman?  Sure, it's possible.  But to imply that it's somehow related to Camby's recent performances is silly.  Some have insisted that Camby and Kaman were redundant from the moment of the Nuggets deal, but the simple fact of the matter is that the Clippers need two quality starting bigs and right now those two are  Kaman and Camby, regardless of whether you think one of them is not really a power forward.  Dealing Kaman would have some very specific requirements in return, a fact which Vecsey doesn't even address.  Somehow, the Clippers don't want Gerald Wallace because he's too similar to Corey Maggette - but isn't the obvious answer that it would leave the team with Tim Thomas starting at the four? 

Kaman probably has more trade value than anyone on the team right now.  He's 26, he's signed for four years, and he's underpaid (providing that he plays like Kaman 2.0 and not Mr. Flippy).  All teams want to improve, and they only have so many options, and if you want to make a trade you have to recognize what assets you have available.  So I agree with Citizen Jax that the Clippers would be wise to at least be thinking about the possibilities.

But rest-assured - any deal for Kaman would have to really wow MDsr.  I'm pretty sure he likes the big lummox more than any of us do, so he'd want something substantial in return.  The current plan in ClipperLand - to build around Davis, Kaman, Thornton and the rookies, to allow Thomas and Mobley and Camby to expire, and to use the cap space (or the expiring contracts) in summer 2010 or before to acquire additional help - is looking more and more solid as Kaman and Baron start playing well together and as the rookies display their promise.  I don't see MDsr veering off of that path for anything less than a spectacular deal. 

No matter what Peter Vecsey says.

UPDATE:  Both Art Thompson in the OCR (glad to see he kept his job in the latest set of cuts there) and Ramona Shelburne in the LADN have posts on their respective blogs refuting this rumor.  The pest has quotes from MDsr with an extended and frankly a little creepy dancing metaphor.  MDsr dancing cheek-to-cheek with Michael Jordan?  Eww.

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