The trade comes at a crucial time for Portland, whose two big men, Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, are out for the season with injuries.
In order to cope with the injuries, 37 year old Juwan Howard has been starting. Although Howard has been exceeding expectations, there were barely any expectations to meet. He was signed by the Blazers to be a mentor for its young and inexperienced team, but since January, has been thrust into a starting role, complete with over 30 minutes per game—something he has not endured since the 2005-06 season.
Camby, the onetime “Defensive Player of the Year,” seems to fit the Blazers’ system quite well and will certainly provide them with more tools than Howard.
As the Blazers (currently eighth) battle for a higher seed in the West, Camby’s defensive presence could be the key in overtaking a few of the Western Conference teams. Although his offense has fell off a bit this season, Camby’s decent jump shot may force defenses to leave his new teammate, LaMarcus Aldridge open for a few more jumpers per game of his own. Either way, defenses will pay when facing Camby and Aldridge together.
In addition to being a smart player and gifted passer, due to his ability off the offensive glass, Camby will create more opportunities for his teammates.
Camby has hardly ever been a fan of changing scenery throughout his career, and leaving his home in Los Angeles may not make him the happiest camper. However, his competitive spirit should be enough to keep him motivated until the end of the season.
When you get down to it, Camby is not getting any younger, and no veteran his age would deny being on a competitor is always a priority.
The Blazers, especially with Camby, have a real chance to make noise in the playoffs. If worse comes to worst, Camby will return home to LA after his contract is through, and he can and will control his own destiny from there.
Outlaw and Blake are both good veterans, but on a Clippers team seemingly headed for the lottery looking to play its younger core, Outlaw and Blake are simply no more than the expiring contracts they have.
In a word, “steal” doesn’t begin to describe how fantastic of a deal this is for the Blazers. “Clutch” is more like it, as the timely acquisition should please all the fans in Portland looking forward to the postseason.
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