Nevermind that it makes logistical sense due to the Clippers' massive cap space from..."/> Nevermind that it makes logistical sense due to the Clippers' massive cap space from..."/> Nevermind that it makes logistical sense due to the Clippers' massive cap space from..."/>

Cost of stealing Marcus Camby: Second Rounder

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Nevermind that it makes logistical sense due to the Clippers’ massive cap space from the Elton Brand saga, but the LA Clippers getting Marcus Camby, a former Defensive Player of the Year, for a second-round draft pick has got to make your jaw drop within a few inches of your lap.

We’ll start with the Clippers, for whom this actually makes sense. Since they only gave up a second rounder, they get to use their remaining cap room on Camby, effectively signing him as a free agent. As a backup plan to Brand, you could do much, much worse than Camby. I assume Kaman will move over to the four spot (not that it matter all that much in today’s game, a post player is a post player) and he and Camby will try to smother the 587 guards that will be getting by Baron Davis, Cuttino Mobley and Eric Gordon.

With Brand, this was probably a playoff team, but now they are probably as borderline as the Warriors were last year, somewhere around the 9th or 10th best team in the West. That said, it still marks an improvement from last year, just now the Clippers have used all their cap room and even with guys like Thornton and Gordon, they are stuck in mediocrity — the worst place you can be in this league.

The hidden losers, as SJ pointed out, are the New York Knicks. Despite their idiotic claims, we know they want to dump Zach Randolph, and what better team than the salary-lite Clippers to aid the cause? You could have even gotten back a second-round pick, which is an upgrade from the carton of milk I would be asking for Z-Bo. Smells like a stiff trigger finger to me. The Knicks are like the shy guy at the middle school dance who doesn’t think a pretty girl will dance with him, only to watch a slightly better looking guy with glasses and a canary yellow polo get three straight slow dances with her. Then again, the Clippers wouldn’t want Z-Bo over Camby anyways.

Then there’s the Nuggets, who, in true Chad Ford fashion, we shall postpone the verdict for. Talent-wise they just got abused, clearly, since no second rounder is going to replace Marcus Camby, but the real value will come from who they pick up with the cap room they open up. Judging from Hoopshype.com’s salary list, the Nuggets look like they’ll have $11 to $12 million of cap room next summer.

Now I will never complain about cap room, but who exactly are the Nuggets expecting to get that’s better than Camby? When Andrew Bogut is getting $72.5 million just for being an above-average center, you wonder what Denver’s long-term plan is? Nene? Maybe, if he can stay on the floor. K-Mart? Funny. For now, the Nuggets get so much worse, are closer to Sacramento than the playoffs and it looks like they are blowing things up. Everyone wants to talk about Melo getting traded, but Iverson is the one with $21 million coming off the books next summer, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded before the trade deadline.

As a sidenote, this quote from ESPN’s story doesn’t quite make it seem like Denver coach George Karl was very in the loop on this:

"“I’m not going to talk philosophically about what’s going on and why we did it,”Karl said. “I think all of us, Marcus and all the coaches, we’re going to haveto think about it a little bit. It was a situation where I know that Marcus wasa big part of our success. Any time you lose a player like Marcus, you’re goingto have a tough time filling that void.”"

How does this affect Portland? Playoffs-wise, it’s gravy. Two borderline playoff teams have gotten worse (GS and Denver) and the Clippers didn’t get good enough. Denver gives them more competition in free agency next summer, even though nobody in their right mind would pick Denver over Portland if the money is all the same, but the kink might be that Iverson’s expiring contract is a little more attractive than Raef’s for cap-clearing (for LeBron, Wade etc.) teams if it’s available.