Marc Stein's Weekend Dime
Possible Kaman Trade:
The optimism from rival teams heard this week about the Los Angeles Clippers making 2010 All-Star Chris Kaman available before the Feb. 24 trading deadline -- thanks to the fast-moving rise of Blake Griffin's buddy DeAndre Jordan -- was echoed Thursday by a source familiar with the Clips' thinking.
But there is a disclaimer: L.A. is saying, at least for now, that it is likely to keep Kaman through the deadline unless moving him results in a clear upgrade at small forward.
An upgrade with a reasonable contract, that is.
That presumably rules out a move for the long-term deals of Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala or Charlotte's Gerald Wallace. Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, with an expiring contract valued at $11.1 million, fits the Clips' parameters far better, but the Pistons -- despite their longstanding fondness for the former Central Michigan center -- could well lack the financial flexibility they'd need themselves to take in Kaman (owed $12.2 million in 2011-12) until the sale of the team goes through (as mentioned in Box 3).
One of the other factors that makes things tricky: Kaman has been sidelined for all but 10 games this season by a badly sprained left ankle and the Clips would prefer to see how a Kaman/Jordan/Griffin frontcourt rotation looks at full strength before deciding Kaman is superfluous. The Clips, though, might not get much evaluation time before the deadline arrives, with Kaman bound to attract outside interest whether he's fully healed or not.
What's clear is that Jordan's in-house stock has risen dramatically and that maintaining the financial flexibility to re-sign him, with restricted free agency looming in July and the threat of big offer sheets that they'd have to match, is high on the Clips' to-do list. The fact that Jordan and Griffin got so friendly over the summer -- with the added benefit of lifting Jordan's on-court productivity -- only makes keeping them together more of a priority.