Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Clips get former defensive player of the year for free! Popovich proceeds to lose his mind
I looked extremely foolish after the Clippers post I made in the hours after BD signed and before EB jumped ship the the Sixers. But, the Clippers have just sent a second round pick to the Nuggets for Camby. I have been redeemed. I am now safely able to resume my love for the Clips. Using the cap space provided by the Brand departure, the Clips were able to take on the entirety of Camby's contract. It's quite a good one too. Camby's making $10 mill this year and next. It will be expiring in 2010, along with the bad Tim Thomas and Cuttino contracts. I hear there are going to be some good players hitting the market that summer... So this gives the Clips a 2 year window with a very competitive roster until 2010 when they will be able to reassess and retool as they see fit once *significantly* under the cap. Good work Clips!
I believe that Camby is the best player the Clips could have conceivably gotten to replace Brand. I was stunned when I saw this headline, as there were no rumors of this deal in the works that I saw, and I am left simply scratching my head. First of all, the Nuggets, I have no idea what they are doing here. They are still over the cap even with Camby's contract off the books, so this deal did not enable them to throw money at any free agents. Unless they have some way tricky thing that I don't know about in the works, this deal makes no sense for them. They do free up a $10 million trade exception, so this may very well be the case. However, in the immediate aftermath, this is devastating news for the Nugget fanbase- they now suck. They are immediately dropped from playoff contention and will not be competitive this year in the West. Iverson is aging, I think, even though it doesn't seem like it. Melo will be upset. Things are not ok in Nuggetland.
On the flip side of this, for the Nuggets, it is abundantly clear to anyone that has watched basketball over the last two seasons that their team as constructed was never going to break into the top tier of the West. Their core of Iverson-Melo-Camby was only good enough to be a one and done playoff team, obviously. I do believe that they needed to make the hard, but correct, decision to somehow blow up the team. I do, however, believe they could have done better than this.
Now, what this means for LAC. I have been quietly lamenting/brooding over Brand's signing with Philly after having his feelings hurt by LAC management (sensitive bitch). It looked like the Clippers would continue to be the Clippers in the 2008-2009 season. None of the free agents still available would have been able to take the money freed up by Brand and have a similar impact on the team, I believe. They reportedly offered a 2nd round pick to the Knicks for ZRand, which Donnie Walsh rejected. I believe they did significantly better with Camby. Camby and Kaman will prove to be -health willing- the best front court defense in the entire NBA. They will also represent the best rebounding front court in the NBA, as well. Offensively, they will leave much to be desired. Neither has a developed post up game and Camby seemed to get all his points on dunks and oops last season. Kaman did begin to show signs of significant offensive life and will have another chance to be top dog down low on offense. Maybe he will take another step forward into 20 point per game land. But the void of offense that Camby will provide is NOT bad for this club. With Brand on the team, I previously stated my distaste for Eric Gordon as this team's starting off guard. Now, however, I think Gordon will be great for them. The trio of BD-Gordon-Thornton will be very exciting to watch on offense as they will be heavily relied upon to provide the bulk of the scoring. Gordon and Thornton are, obviously, very young. I expect Gordon to go through typical rookie growing pains, but I am really expecting a big season out of Thornton. Thornton will be the key to the success of this team, I believe, and I am convinced he will have a monster this year.
I already extensively discussed this club, and so I will stop here. I am not saying that Camby is better than Brand; that is an untenable position. But, I do think that Camby replacing Brand is good enough to make this a playoff team in '08-'09; especially with the Nuggets safely out of the picture.