The New York Knicks are trying to build a team capable of competing with the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics and the rest of the Eastern Conference's elite, but signing veteran center Marcus Camby won't bring them any closer to those teams.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks, along with the Heat, are very interested in bringing Camby aboard. Camby played for the Knicks from 1998 until 2002, but he is now 38 years of age and can't be trusted to remain healthy for an entire season.
He would only be a backup for the Knicks behind Tyson Chandler, but they really don't need him. They may not have a lot of experience behind Chandler, but rookies Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan showed some flashes last season. Harrellson in particular has a lot of promise and could be a viable backup to Chandler immediately.
Injuries aside, Camby has a good track record in the league as he was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 and has led the league in blocks on four occasions, but he is clearly at the tail end of his career. He averaged 7.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in 19 games down the stretch for the Houston Rockets last season, but that was while receiving 24 minutes per game.
Camby probably wouldn't play nearly as much for the Knicks and I feel like bringing him in would be counterproductive. The Knicks have to worry about re-signing Steve Novak and J.R. Smith as it is, and both of them should be of higher priority than Camby as they each were very big parts of last year's team.
Also, the Heat would likely be willing to make Camby a starter and they offer him a very good chance to win a title, so I'm not sure the Knicks could compete for him even if they wanted him. Camby would be stuck behind Chandler in New York and the Knicks still have a lot of work to do before they are true title contenders.
The Knicks have a $3.09 mid-level exception, and according to Berman, they would prefer not to spend it on Camby. At the same time, Camby wants more than the veteran's minimum, so I have a hard time believing New York is really serious about getting him. Camby wouldn't be the worst signing in the world, but I feel like Harrellson has what it takes to be just as good this season provided he is given an opportunity to develop.
Signing Camby would put Harrellson third on the depth chart and would probably limit him to less than 10 minutes per game. The Knicks have plenty of experience at every position, but it is also important to allow younger players to blossom. Maybe Camby would be a slightly better option than Harrellson this year, but if Harrellson gets increased minutes this season then it will bode well for him down the line.
Now that the Knicks have signed veteran point guard Jason Kidd and brought Jeremy Lin back into the fold, there is a lot of optimism in the Big Apple. New York has a couple more moves to make in order to complete a successful offseason, but signing Camby isn't one of them.
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