With so many of the marquee free agents off the board, Marcus Camby is now one of the bigger targets left for the 2012 free agency period.
So, how much should the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks be willing to pay for the 38-year-old center?
According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets and Knicks are the favorites to land Camby at this point in the sweepstakes:
New York and Brooklyn are front-runners in sign-and-trade talks to acquire Houston's Marcus Camby, league sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2012
At this stage in Camby's career, he's not worth an inordinate sum in free agency, even if ESPN's Jared Zwerling and Brian Windhorst have sources who say that the center isn't interested in signing for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.
The relatively low asking price is good news for both New York-based teams, seeing as they're both rather strapped for cash at the moment.
N.Y. is expected to use the $3.09 mid-level exception to sign Jason Kidd, while the Nets are expected to use theirs on Mirza Teletovic.
On July 2, ESPN Dallas' Jeff Caplan wrote the following:
So what will the market bear now? The mini mid-level of $3 million? The full mid-level of $5 million? Some speculate that Camby could still command north of $6 million bucks a season.
If Camby does indeed prove worthy of a salary exceeding $6 million per year for multiple years—and Caplan also reports that Camby is seeking a multi-year deal either two or three seasons in duration—then both the Knicks and the Nets may be forced to drop out of the running.
Camby is a specialist at this point in his career. He's quite limited on the offensive end of the court and wouldn't be running many pick-and-rolls with the point guards of these two teams, seeing as there are much better options for that.
However, Camby is an elite defender who would bring a shot-blocking presence and veteran maturity to each team. On the Nets, he'd be a valuable complement to Brook Lopez (assuming he's re-signed and kept), helping balance the offense of Lopez with his own defense. On the Knicks, he'd be a stop-gap while Tyson Chandler takes some time to catch his breath on the sideline.
Additionally, he's one of the best rebounders in the league. Once more, that fills in needs as Lopez is completely and utterly averse to rebounding, while Amar'e Stoudemire is better at hitting other types of glass for the Knicks.
Even at 38 years of age, Camby led the entire NBA in total rebounding percentage last year and should compete for another crown in that statistical category as long as he's not asked to play more than about 25 minutes per game.
Camby would bring value to both of these teams as long as he doesn't command too high a price. The mid-level exceptions Caplan speculated about are now out of the question, leaving sign-and-trades as the only option.
If Camby can be had for two years and $5 million per season in a sign-and-trade situation, both teams should pull the trigger. If he's bucking and asking for more, there are other options out there.