The Los Angeles Clippers have acquired Denver Nuggets center Marcus Camby for a future second-round draft pick.
Camby, the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, comes to the Clippers one week after the Clippers lost power forward Elton Brand to free agency.
Camby's arrival leaves the future of Clippers center Chris Kaman in question. Kaman enjoyed a breakout season last year, averaging 15.7 PPG, 12.7 RPG, and 2.77 BPG after a 2006-2007 season plagued with injuries.
The Clippers could elect to play the two centers together, forming one of the most formidable defensive front lines in the league. Camby finished second in the league in rebounds per game last season, and led the league in blocks per game, while Kaman finished third in both categories.
Alternatively, the Clippers could look to deal Kaman while his value is high after a good year. With lingering questions about whether he is prone to injury, trading Kaman now could net the Clippers the highest offer they will ever get for him.
Furthermore, considering Camby's own injury history as well as that of point guard Baron Davis, the Clippers may not want to move forward with a core so prone to injury.
For the Nuggets, the move comes as a pure cost-cutting move. Camby was on the books for $15 million over the next two seasons.
The Nuggets once again finished with one of the highest pay roles in the league and well into the luxury tax. Despite their high-spending, the Clippers were once again swiftly dismissed in the first round of the playoffs.
Trade rumors surrounding the Nuggets' core of Camby, Carmelo Anthony, and Allen Iverson, had abounded all summer. In addition to those three, Kenyon Martin and Nene are also under rich, long-term contracts.
The Nuggets hope that by unloading Camby they will be able to bring in role players around their duo of Anthony and Iverson to make the team competitive in the Western conference.
Also, it appears they are now finally committed to helping Nene develop into a player worthy of the money he is making. After signing Nene to a new multiyear extension averaging over $10 million per year, Nene struggled with injuries all year while averaging less than six points and six rebounds per game off the bench.
The move leaves the Nuggets with only ten players under contract for next season. However, with Iverson, Anthony, Martin and Nene all making salaries around or above $10 million next year, the Nuggets will still be over the salary cap even after dumping Camby's contract.
This means the Nuggets will be unable to make any major free agency signings this offseason beyond possibly retaining restricted free agent J.R. Smith. However, since the trade brings the team under the luxury tax, they should be able to bring in some role players at cheap prices to fill out the roster.
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