Monday, August 07, 2006

Kaman Rumors

There's nothing official from the Clippers on extensions for Kaman or Dunleavy.

In the absence of anything real, John Hollinger prefers to just make stuff up. On July 17, he predicted that the Clippers would extend Kaman for 5/$45M. He failed to mention why Kaveman would accept less money than Sam Dalembert got last year or Nene got this year.
Because of the recent lunacy involving free-agent centers, it behooves the Clippers to act now if they want to keep Kaman around at a quasi-reasonable price. Kaman did his part, posting his best season as a pro last year and improving by leaps and bounds at the defensive end. In this newfangled era when the Clips actually spend a little money, look for Kaman to get a nice chunk of change.

Apparently, there's more than one definition for 'nice chunk of change.'

Today, Hollinger has re-visited the Kaman situation and declared him to be a probable top 10 free agent next year.
He's on a rookie contract and could get extended this fall, but word on the street is that the two sides are miles apart on what Kaman's market value is. My guess is that the $60 million deal Nene signed with Denver probably isn't helping to close the gap any, so Kaman might need to ink an offer sheet to get paid.

I would be shocked... SHOCKED.... if the Clippers extend Kaman this summer. And while I often criticize the front office for being short-sighted, in this case, I couldn't agree more. Look... the guy is wildly inconsistent but improving all the time. This is the year that he needs to add some consistency to his game. Do we really want him 'locked up' until 2012 (!) if he is going to turn the ball over EVERY TIME he sees a double team? So this season is the one where he needs to prove he's got more than potential - that he's got ... what do they call it? ... game.

Is there a risk that he could cost more after another good season? Sure. But there's NO WAY he's going to take less than Dalembert in 05 or Nene this year (6/$60M), and how much higher is it going to go, anyway? Let him become a restricted free agent, and let the market determine his worth. Things will change, but as of now, it looks like only Charlotte and Orlando will have significant cap space anyway, so there's not even much risk of a bidding war. The bottom line is, waiting another year gives the organization more information about the type of player he is and can be, and it gives more flexibility also.

Finally, I for one am far from convinced that simply being one of the top 5 'centers' in the league is necessarily worth the salary premium currently being charged. Is he one of the best traditional centers in the league? Sure. But that's because they all suck. And guess what? Of the 4 Western Conference Semi-finalists in last year's playoffs, San Antonio benched their traditional centers, Phoenix never had any to begin with, and Dallas' starter (Diop) signed for 3/$6.5M in 05. So I'll agree that there is very little supply of this commodity - I'm just not sure that there out to be a demand.