Breakdown of the Clippers-Blazers Marcus Camby Trade

February 16, 2010

The Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trailblazers struck a deal Monday night in which the Clips sent big man Marcus Camby to Portland for point guard Steve Blake, forward Travis Outlaw, and cash. All three players have expiring contracts.

Although not as complex as the recent Dallas-Washington deal a few days ago, this trade nevertheless could have an equally significant impact on the 2010 Western Conference playoffs.


Portland has had a rough season losing multiple players to injury, particularly amongst their bigs. With centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla gone for the year, Portland has been reduced to using such stopgap replacements as aging Juwan Howard and not-ready-for-primetime rookie Jeff Pendergraph.

Camby now provides an immediate boost on the interior.

Still an outstanding shotblocker and help defender, Camby instantly should improve the Blazers' half court D. Portland also should benefit on the glass, as Camby ranks second in the league in rebounding at 12.1 per game.

Although not much of a post threat on offense, Camby has a reliable face-up 20-foot jumper, which should serve the Blazers well in pick-and-pop scenarios.

In other words, Camby should be a seamless fit for Portland's offense, as he will not take away LaMarcus Aldridge's post touches, and will be a decent spot-up threat on the perimeter when Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, or Rudy Fernandez elect to drive-and-kick.

As for the loss of Blake and Outlaw, Portland fortunately has enough depth on its roster to replace either guy. The emerging Jerryd Bayless can step into Blake's role backing up Andre Miller, while Nicolas Batum, improving shooter Martell Webster, or even Roy can take much of Outlaw's minutes at the three.

When viewed entirely, Portland now is in a position to be competitive during the defensive slugfests of the postseason, provided, of course, that Roy gets healthy.


The loss of Camby certainly was not a popular move among the Clipper players, as already anonymous Clippers have been quoted as mourning the loss of their "best defensive player."

Camby was an unselfish veteran who brought stability to the Clippers' D in a year where - surprise - many of their bigs suffered injury.

What this move really signifies is GM Mike Dunleavy throwing in the towel on the 2009-2010 season.

After quitting his coaching duties before the All Star break because he had "lost" his team, Dunleavy apparently was hoping for a quick turnaround with interim coach Kim Hughes. When Hughes failed to produce immediate results, Dunleavy decided to shelve the season and get rid of his one valuable trading piece.

Unfortunately for Clipper fans, what did the team get in return?

Blake is pure backup material who doesn't create much, but will defend and stick the three. He is arguably more steady than the flashier Sebastian Telfair, but his real worth lies in the fact that his contract will be expiring.

Outlaw, meanwhile, is the true prize for LA, but he might not stick around after this year.

An extremely athletic 3 with a great, consistent midrange J, Outlaw brings energy and offense off the bench. Outlaw also should provide thunderous finishes around the rim for fans to enjoy.

If healthy, Outlaw is good enough to start or come off the bench in a 6th man capacity. As such, he could make forward Al Thornton expendable for LA, as Thornton has grumbled about his bench role this season. The real key for Outlaw will be health, as he has been out much of the year with foot problems.

On the interior, Camby's responsibilities in the paint will fall primarily to holdovers Craig Smith and DeAndre Jordan.

Smith, a Dunleavy favorite, is a rugged rebounder who can muscle his way for scores down low. Still, Smith is undersized and not a leaper, and thus, does not provide nearly the same shotblocking threat as Camby.

Talented youngster Jordan has the length and athleticism that Camby once provided, but is far more raw. So while Jordan figures to develop as he gets extra minutes inside, expecting him to produce at Camby's level is a bit unrealistic.

Unfortunately for LA, neither Jordan nor Smith have the perimeter stroke of Camby, and thus, they could end up clogging the middle for All Star center Chris Kaman.

Overall, the Clippers did not gain or lose much in the long term, as they did not take on any future salary. They are still essentially in the same position to make a run at the 2010 free agent class as they were prior to this deal.

As for this year, they might have assured themselves of more losses, given the departure of Camby's production. That might not be so bad considering that it could net them a higher draft pick.

Of course, we all know about the Clippers' luck when it comes to high draft picks.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for


  1. This trade was just what we needed. Camby is an anchor in the paint. With him and Aldridge we can measure up to the Lakers inside.

  2. Camby and Aldridge give us twin towers in the middle. Camby is an upgrade over what Przybilla would have done. Give Rudy more minutes, Nate!

  3. Sad thing is the Clippers won't even sign Outlaw, so we let Camby go for nothing.

    In Blake we trust!


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