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Columnist
Clippers may move Kaman; Bulls not shopping Thomas
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 5/25/2009 12:07 AM

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It's been interesting to watch the flow of drama in this year's NBA playoffs. There were five games decided by 3 points or fewer in the Bulls-Celtics first-round series, then three games decided by 3 points or fewer in the entire second round.

The conference finals are off to a great start, with four of the first five games decided by 3 or fewer. In the meantime, here's a look at four issues and rumors for those teams already in their off-season:

• Does the Clippers' lottery win make it more likely they'll trade center Chris Kaman?

The Clips have already announced plans to draft 6-foot-10 Oklahoma power forward Blake Griffin with the top pick, which will give them an abundance of big men. Kaman wouldn't be a bad target for the Bulls, who could use better interior defense. But unless the Clippers are desperate to shed salary, trading Kaman doesn't make much sense.

Marcus Camby, 35, has one year left on his contract and may be a candidate for retirement when this season ends. His expiring deal should have value at the trade deadline. Kaman is 27 and signed for three more years.

The Clippers' acquisition of Zach Randolph seems like a worse idea now than it did when it happened last season, and they need to move him to clear a spot in the lineup for Griffin. But Randolph will be tough to move since he's owed $33.3 million over the next two years.

• Are the Bulls shopping Tyrus Thomas?

No. They were definitely disappointed in his playoff performance. Thomas was the late-game hero in the series-opening win at Boston, then all but disappeared for the next six contests and acted out when he was pulled from games.

Overall, though, Thomas made strides in his third pro season, and if he can make a similar jump this summer, he should be fine. Thomas works hard enough, but one of his biggest problems right now is just accepting criticism, either from the coaching staff or teammates.

That said, would the Bulls trade Thomas for Chris Bosh or Carlos Boozer this summer? Of course, but a blockbuster trade is always a long shot. The Bulls know Thomas has too much talent to simply give up on him.

• Is Detroit the most likely landing spot for free agent Ben Gordon?

The Pistons will have the most cap room because Allen Iverson is not coming back and Rasheed Wallace's return is questionable. But I'd have to say no on Gordon to the Pistons, unless Joe Dumars makes radical changes to the roster.

Why would the Pistons want to spend their cap money on Gordon to back up Richard Hamilton? Playing them together doesn't make much sense because neither is a point guard and Hamilton would make a very small small forward.

Detroit's top priority will be a big man. Free agents Lamar Odom and Carlos Boozer figure to be the main targets, along with a possible salary-absorbing trade for Amare Stoudemire.

Don't count out Oklahoma City as a Gordon suitor. Remember, longtime Bulls assistant coach Ron Adams is now with the Thunder and might recommend Gordon to play between Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green.

• Will Allen Iverson play in the NBA next season?

At this point, the answer appears to be no. Iverson, who turns 34 in June, still has scoring skills, but he demonstrated in Detroit that he's unwilling to alter his ball-dominating role for the good of his team. When asked to come off the bench for the Pistons late in the season, Iverson chose to stop playing and left the team.

Add the fact that Denver made enormous improvements after trading Iverson for Chauncey Billups and it's tough to imagine a team that would see Iverson as an asset.