- Associated Press - Friday, January 27, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Hornets have decided to trade Chris Kaman, who won’t be playing while the club looks for teams interested in making a deal for the veteran 7-foot center, general manager Dell Demps said.

Kaman was excused from New Orleans’ home game against the Orlando Magic on Friday night, and Demps, who was traveling, said in a written statement during the game that the team and Kaman “mutually decided for a number of reasons that we are not going to play Chris” while trade talks get under way.

Kaman was acquired in a multiplayer trade that sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers shortly before the regular season began, and the 29-year-old big man has struggled to find a consistent role in New Orleans.

Kaman has started six games and played in 17, averaging 9.2 points and 6.6 rebounds. He is also in the final year of a contract that pays him about $14 million this season, making him an attractive trade target for teams looking for both an experienced center and a large expiring contract that will help clear salary cap space at the end of the season.

“We had a conversation with Chris and expressed that the Hornets are going to go in a different direction,” Demps said. “Chris has been the ultimate professional during this process and we thank him for the way he has handled the situation.”

Kaman was part of a trade that also brought the Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2012 first-round draft choice that originally belonged to Minnesota.