Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is probably important

The Clippers acquired Marcus Camby for a 2nd round draft pick (actually, not even that -- word is they gave Denver the right to SWAP picks). Considering that they were supposedly considering making a similar deal for Zach Randolph, they seem to have made out like bandits. They saved themselves a third year of Zach's contract (Camby's only lasts two more years) and about $5 million per year during the next two years (difference between Camby's and Randolph's salaries). They also saved themselves from a player who is very skilled at scoring in the post but also can't handle double teams, does not play any defense, and doesn't pass well.

The Clippers were able to make this trade without receiving any salary commitments in return because they were well under the cap due mainly to the departures of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.

What did they get? Camby is 34 years old and injury prone (this last season, in which he played 79 games, was an anomaly) on one hand. On the other hand, he is a good passer, and can play pretty well offensively from the high post (he does shoot extremely slowly, but he's gotten away with that for 12 years now, so I'm sure he'll manage), which should allow him to mesh well offensively with Chris Kaman playing in the low post (and Kaman hasn't been a very good passer, so Camby gives them some passing from the inside that they've been lacking). He is also a terrific help-defender, and the Clippers should have a pretty intimidating front line when it comes to rebounding and shot-blocking (although it seems like they'd have trouble guarding quick/athletic power forwards). And finally, he is a member of a non-existent ethnic group.

The real question this year should be how many games Camby and Baron Davis are able to play healthy. Even if they have miracle seasons, we're still looking at a second-tier playoff team. Financially, this deal is interesting for the Clippers since it (theoretically) helps them on the court for a couple of years without ruining their ongoing attempt at building through their young players (Thornton, Gordon).

As for the Nuggets, it's understandable why they would do this. Even after the trade (Camby makes $10 million next year), Denver will be paying Nene and Kenyon Martin a total of close to $24 million. Denver is still over the cap after the trade, but now have room to maneuver without hitting the luxury tax.

I'm not totally convinced right now that this is an absolutely wonderful trade for the Clips, but given the stark contrast with the possibility of Zach Randolph, Camby feels like a steal.

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