Knicks Rumors: Marcus Camby Shouldn't Be so Eager for a Return to NYC

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 02:  Marcus Camby #29 of the Houston Rockets shoots against Omer Asik #3 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on April 2, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Marcus Camby may not rank among the most highly-touted free agents this summer, but he's the perfect candidate to put a solid team over the top.

According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, a few organization find themselves in precisely that situation:

In addition to Knicks, Nets and Heat, Clippers have regisered interest in Camby, source said.

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 8, 2012

And while Camby met with representatives from New York on Sunday, that doesn't mean his arrival is a sure thing. Beyond Berger's list of suitors, the New York Post's Marc Berman notes a couple of teams in Texas could give the Knicks a run for their money:

Nets, San Antonio and maybe Dallas also in mix for Camby. Told that Knicks as "frontrunner" too strong a term.

— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 7, 2012

The wrinkle to Camby's free-agent discussions is that he may become part of a sign-and-trade deal that would score some help for his previous employer, the Houston Rockets. Without knowing which deals make the most sense for Houston, it's hard to know which club will eventually land Camby's services.

Since the Knicks, Nets and Heat are in no position to offer the 38-year-old even a full mid-level exception, the only way he'll make his way to one of those teams is with a sign-and-trade arrangement in place.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks have a combination of things Camby might want.

First, both could offer him playing time. Dallas has no one outside of Brendan Haywood to play center, so Camby would start and likely see the majority of playing time at the position. The Spurs have long needed a defensively-oriented center to pair alongside Tim Duncan, and Camby would certainly solve that problem.

Second, both clubs could offer him money without the aid of a sign-and-trade proposal. The Mavericks have no shortage of cap space, and the Spurs still have their full mid-level exception.

That means Camby would walk away with more than $5 million a year in either scenario and a chance to start. If he chose the Spurs, he could even start for a contender.

There's no question that Camby would be a valuable asset off the bench for the Knicks. They need someone who can give Tyson Chandler a rest or otherwise pick up the slack if the starting seven-footer finds himself in foul trouble.

The question is whether Camby would happily accept such a role.

Even in a three-man rotation at the 4 and 5 spots, there's no question Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire would continue to receive the vast majority of minutes.

With the value Carmelo Anthony showed shifting to power forward, that rotation may become even more crowded.

If the Rockets could work out a deal with Miami, on the other hand, Camby would have far less competition at the position. Ray Allen's arrival in Miami may mean LeBron James slides to the 4 and Chris Bosh to the 5, but Camby would remain the closest thing to a legitimate center on the roster and presumably retain a prominent role in the rotation as a result.

ESPN's Jared Zwerling and Brian Windhorst report that Houston is more interested in dealing with the Knicks and that Camby himself likes the idea of returning to New York.

The Knicks would have themselves a formidable frontcourt in such an event.

If Camby actually cares about his playing time, returning to NYC doesn't make much sense.