NBA Trade Rumors: How the Hawks can still get Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman

Stephen Dunn

Lovely loophole in the CBA may make the two Laker big men available again for the Hawks to sign as free agents.

Breathe yet?

If you survived the NBA Trade Deadline but didn't get the player you wanted (sit down, the single Antawn Jamison fan in Atlanta), let us keep you hoping that the good guys can still land that backup Los Angeles Lakers big man you always wanted (for two days).

The Hawks still have the Disabled Player Exception (DPE) that they may use until March 10th for free agent signings.

So what, you ask? The Lakers still have Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill and now the Hawks can't trade for them. Now what?

Well, it's possible, not probable, but possible, that the Lakers could roll the dice and release both bigs.

Why? Well they are over the luxury tax. Not a big deal, but big enough to scrape off Steve Blake over to the Warriors. That's the reason they were peddling at least Hill around the league for a second round pick, to see what they could get.

But wait, why would they do that if they would still have to pay both players? Well, they could initiate a buyout and then agree to walk away with nothing. This is because both players are in the final year of their deal and it's past January 10th.

From the indispensable CBAFAQ:

This was challenged by John Starks during the 1999-2000 season. Starks had been traded to the Bulls, and wanted to sever ties with the team after January 10. The arbitrator ruled that in the last season of a player's contract a team and player can choose to eliminate the protection that kicks-in on January 10. Starks and the Bulls were therefore free to walk away from each other with no money owed.

And how much would this save the Lakers? Let's talk to Mark Deeks, who runs the essential ShamSports salary cap website.

Now, it's a risk for Hill and Kaman to walk away from guaranteed money to risk that another team will sign them, but with New Orleans, Brooklyn and, of course, Atlanta with similar Disabled Player Exceptions there's potential money and bidding for their services to be had.

So, Hawks fans, have hope that your big man prayers will be answered this season. Maybe. Stay tuned.

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