The Price of Camby

About a month ago I took a look at Portland’s impending situation with Greg Oden becoming eligible for a contract extension this summer. Then, I said that the Blazers would be best served to lock him up to the five-year extension he’ll be asking for, at whatever discount you can get after another season-ending injury. Oden won’t be cheap, but he’s not going to get any cheaper while he’s healthy, and thus worth offering a contract.

The other question is what the Blazers are going to do about their backup center situation. Joel Przybilla re-tore he patellar tendon and is out by indefinitely. In this case, having gotten a couple medical opinions on the situation, indefinitely could mean next November (doubtful) or the summer of 2010. Joel has a player option to pick up this summer for $7.4 million and there is no reason he shouldn’t pick it up. Nobody else is going to pay him while he recovers from a major injury, so he’ll collect his money and rightfully so.

That leaves you with two centers going into next season you are uncertain about. If the Blazers are going to make a serious run at the playoffs that season, they are going to need some security in the middle to account for Przybilla’s fluid timeline and whatever nicks and bruises Oden picks up during the regular season. That security is Marcus Camby.

Camby’s contract is expiring this summer and he is making $9.1 million in the final year of the deal. The L.A. Clippers will have interest is bringing him back to California, the Denver Nuggets will have interest in ridding themselves of Johan Petro’s playing time, the New York Knicks have expressed interest, and then there’s a ton of other teams that will either have cap space or a mid-level exception to use on a rotation-completing veteran. Short story: Camby is going to be a valuable commodity.

My take on this is simple: it is very important to get Camby back. If I were on a sports talk television show, I would say “You ABSOLUTELY MUST keep Marcus Camby”, but I’m not so I won’t. It’s just strongly advisable that Kevin Pritchard (and not another GM) does what it takes — barring finding another backup big trough trade, draft or mid-level exception — to bring back old Long Arms McBlock.

We’ll talk about this like Paul Allen’s money is Monopoly money. If the owner opens his wallet, there should be no issue with even giving Camby a raise to $10 million if it means him staying. The price shouldn’t be the sticking point, only the length. A manageable deal like Andre Miller’s two years with a third non-guaranteed sounds about right. Anything more than that and you tip your hat to the team that gives a 35-year old Camby what he wants.

This is all fairly obvious — and long winded — but still worth pointing out. What would be good value for you to keep Camby with Portland and keep him away from other Western Conference playoff teams?

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Tags: Free Agency Greg Oden Joel Przybilla Marcus Camby Nba Basketball Portlan Trail Blazers

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