Marcus Camby: Breaking Down Clippers and Best Fits for Veteran Center

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 8, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 09:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics hugs Marcus Camby #23 of the Portland Trail Blazers before the game on March 9, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Marcus Camby may be 38 years old, but he remains an effective rebounder and defender, making him one of the best big men left in the free-agency pool. 

ESPN's Jared Zwerling and Brian Windhorst report that the Miami Heat and New York Knicks are the favorites in pursuit of the unrestricted free agent, but Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears adds the Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets to the mix as well: 

Add the Clippers to teams interested in Rockets free agent C Marcus Camby, a source said. Nets to set up meeting. NY & MIA still interested.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 8, 2012

Although the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs remain interested in Camby, let's take a look at how the four aforementioned teams stack up as fits for the big man. 


4. New York Knicks

The New York Knicks may be the team most likely to sign Camby, but that doesn't make them the best fit. 

Zwerling and Windhorst's sources indicate both that Camby is unlikely to sign for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million—all the Heat can offer—and that he has a terrific relationship with Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald. 

However, Camby would be relegated to backup duty with the Knicks and he'd basically be a poor man's version of Tyson Chandler. As long as the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is healthy, he'll play a large role on this N.Y. squad. 

Camby would be able to provide a nice rebounding boost while maintaining the interior defensive presence, but he's so similar to Chandler that he may as well stay on the bench. 

3. Los Angeles Clippers

With Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan manning the starting frontcourt roles for the Los Angeles Clippers, Camby would once more be relegated to backup duty in this scenario. 

Unlike with the New York Knicks and Tyson Chandler, though, Jordan isn't an otherworldly defensive presence who must be on the court. Camby would likely receive many more opportunities as Vinny Del Negro and the Clippers seek consistency from the players on their team. 

Plus, with the creativity of Chris Paul, Camby may look like an above-average offensive center for the first time in years. 

A return to Los Angeles—he was traded from the Clippers to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010—wouldn't be a bad thing for the aging big man, but he can do better. 

2. Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets already have offense coming out of all positions on the court, or at least it seems as such. I'm also operating under the assumption that Billy King and the Nets brass match any offer Brook Lopez receives and the big man from Stanford stays with the team. 

With Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Mirza Teletovic and Lopez, the points will be coming early and often for Brooklyn as soon as they open the season under the new name while wearing the unreleased jerseys. 

Marcus Camby would be the perfect complement to Lopez at center. He'd enable Lopez to stay healthy while balancing the incumbent center's offensive skills with his own defensive ones. 

Additionally, Camby may even be able to teach Lopez what the word "rebound" means. 

The only problem is that the Nets are attempting to jump into the realm of the championship contenders. Unlike the last remaining team, they aren't already there. 

1. Miami Heat

The Miami Heat learned that they can win a title without an elite center, using small ball to their advantage and running the other team to death. It would be nice, however, to have the ability to play big with a center who is better than Joel Anthony, Dexter Pittman or Eddy Curry. 

Even at 38 years old, Camby is a significant upgrade over any of those three. 

Camby would have a shot at being inserted straight into the starting lineup of the defending champions if his pride could take a hit and allow him to sign for the veteran's minimum. 

Adding two specialists—Ray Allen and Camby—would significantly help the Heat's attempt to repeat during the 2012-2013 season.