Los Angeles Lakers Reportedly Gauging Trade Interest in Chris Kaman, Steve Blake

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake, left, waits on the bench with Lakers center Chris Kaman playing against the Denver Nuggets during an NBA preseason basketball game Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers aren't going to be content sitting back and letting action come to them as we roll on toward the NBA's Feb. 20 trade deadline. 

This is a team that likes to go out and get things done, especially as it moves from delusional hopeful buyers of Kevin Love—as suggested by CBSSports.comto aggressive sellers. After all, the future is more important than the present, which means any and all veterans who can be moved should be moved.

Kobe Bryant being the sole exception, of course. 

Lately, that means Chris Kaman and Steve Blake. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne has the scoop: 

The Lakers have been one of the more active teams in advance of Thursday's deadline as they gauge the market for Gasol and veterans such as Jordan Hill, Chris Kaman and Steve Blake. With their record at 18-35 heading into Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets, it makes little sense to pay luxury taxes and be in line to pay the more punitive repeater taxes in the future. 

Rumors involving Jordan Hill, such as this one courtesy of Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, have circulated for a while now, but official confirmation of the Kaman and Blake plan is new. 

Of course, trading them makes sense, especially because it's largely for the same reason that Hill was originally on the block.

The Lakers may not be able to get much back for the veterans, at least not in terms of future draft picks and high-upside players, but doing everything possible to get under the luxury-tax threshold is of paramount importance. 

"Even if trading Hill only brings the Lakers a second-round selection while lightening their $79 million-plus salary load, it's worth it. More than worth it," writes Bleacher Report's Dan Favale"Send him to a team—a contender, perhaps—where he fits in—where he plays for more than an inadvertent tank job. That moving him makes the Lakers worse is merely a bonus, and it is a bonus."

Easier said than done, of course. 

Feb 5, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Blake (right) dribbles the ball as Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Matthew Dellavedova defends in the third quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of the difficulty of turning a hypothetical trade into a reality, though, Favale's reasoning still applies if you replace Hill's name with either of the other two players rumored to be on the block. It's just all about cutting into the luxury-tax bill.

"It's a looming black cloud that was created for a reason," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told Lakers.com's Mike Trudell during a sit-down interview. In this case, the antecedent for "it" is the dreaded repeater's tax, which the franchise is desperately trying to avoid now that it's basically out of hope for the 2013-14 campaign. 

Blake and Kaman are expendable. Beyond that, it's even beneficial to trade them in what amounts to a mini salary dump. 

Now the Lakers just have to find takers.