The Heat are still looking for another center to complement the undersized Joel Anthony, and that man could be New Orleans Hornet Chris Kaman.
Fox Sports reported Wednesday that team president Pat Riley has inquired about Kaman's availability
. The Heat would have a hard time trading for Kaman, who is earning $14 million this year (the final year on his contract).
But the Hornets could buy out his contract if he cannot be moved before the March 15 trade deadline. If that is the case, the Heat could swoop in and sign him for the prorated league minimum. The team pulled a similar move last season to acquire PG Mike Bibby.
It is no secret that the Heat would love to acquire a large center who could provide help on defense if they face a team with a physical center in the playoffs. The team tried to acquire Samuel Dalembert
during the brief preseason free agency period, but he followed the big bucks to Houston, signing a contract with the Rockets that pays him in eight figures.
The 7-foot Kaman, who was the sixth pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, was sent to New Orleans in December as part of the Chris Paul trade. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Clippers.
For his career, Kaman has averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds per game, but he has been hampered by injuries in recent years. If he can stay healthy, he would provide significant presence down low for the Heat. In 2007-2008, his best season as a pro, Kaman grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked 3 shots per game. If Miami were to face Dwight Howard's Orlando Magic in the playoffs, Kaman could be much more effective on defense than the 6'9" Anthony.
The Heat cannot talk with Kaman himself due to NBA tampering rules, so Riley has been speaking with "people who know Kaman," according to Fox Sports. The Heat aren't believed to have the right pieces to send to the Hornets in a trade, so the team will have to wait and hope that another team does not swoop in with a deal New Orleans can't refuse.