Marcus Camby to talk with Rockets, Clippers, Heat, Bulls
With the Raptors agreeing to a buyout of Marcus Camby’s contract, Camby plans to meet with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and the Chicago Bulls to see if he can spend the final years of his NBA career with a team that can contend for a NBA title.
Camby was traded from the New York Knicks along with Quentin Richardson, Steve Novak, one first-round draft pick, and two second-round draft picks to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Andrea Bargnani. Because of Camby’s desire to play with a contender, the Raptors agreed yesterday to buy out his contract and put him on waivers. Sportsnet reported that Camby was owed $7.5 million over two years, but ProBasketballTalk reported the figure being $8.5 million with only $1 million guaranteed.
The Rockets are expected to offer veteran minimum contracts to both players. The Rockets do have their “room” exception, worth $2.652 million in the first season, but plan to keep that available should it be needed during the season.
Camby played 19 games for the Rockets during the 2011-12 season and averaged 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds. The Ultimate Rockets story said Rockets coach Kevin McHale often praised Camby for his “defensive presence and veteran leadership.” Another consideration for Camby joining the Rockets would be that his primary offseason residence is in Houston. Although the Rockets have added Dwight Howard, the team might need to get used to playing with one another, which might hurt their progress in becoming a championship team out of the gate.
While the news of Charlotte Bobcats center Byron Mullins nearing a deal with the Clippers may make the Clippers less likely to be Camby’s next destination, Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk sees Camby playing behind Clippers’ power forwards Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan if Camby would end up with the team. Camby spent two seasons with the Clippers during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, and he played alongside Chris Kaman as a second center. The Clippers, however, may not be the best bet to get Camby a NBA Championship ring. While the Clippers have a lot of talent in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, that talent has gotten them only as far and the Western Conference Semifinals in 2011-12.
Even though Chicago Bulls backup center Nazr Mohammed and Camby had similar statistics last year (2.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg for Mohammed; 1.8 ppg, 3.3 rbg for Camby), Camby’s career statistics of 9.5 ppg and 9.8 rpg beat Mohammad’s career stats of 6.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg. Derrick Rose will be back next season, and the Bulls made it to Eastern Conference Semifinals without him last year. It remains to be seen if Rose’s play will be at the caliber it was when he was injured in Game One of the 2011-12 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
If Camby wants to play for a team that will be a contender for an NBA title, his best bet would be the Heat. Camby had a chance to play for the Heat last season. He was headed to the airport to talk with Heat coach Pat Riley in Miami, but was talked out of it by former teammate Allan Houston. However, the Heat also have expressed interest in former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden. On the other hand, other teams are interested in Oden. The Pelicans reportedly are prepared to offer Oden a two-year contract. Even with the nearly completed acquisition of Samuel Dalembert from the Milwaukee Bucks, the Mavericks are still interested in acquiring Oden.
According to ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling, the ability of a team to win an NBA Championship won’t be the only consideration for Camby, however. Zwerling’s source for his story said that if a team would offer Camby beyond the veteran’s minimum, it could make a difference.
On the other hand, all four teams will be taking into consideration if they want to sign a player who averaged 1.8 points per game and 3.3 rebounds a game last season and plans to retire in 2015 to try his hand at coaching. Whatever the outcome of Camby’s talks with the four teams interested in him will be, Camby plans to make a decision “fairly quickly” as to where his next destination in his 17-year career will be.
By: Deb Considine- Pass the Pill Contributor