At the time of this writing, the trade and its specifics have not been made official, but the basics seem conrcete enough to address: the Blazers have traded Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw to the Clippers for 2007 Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby. All three have expiring contracts, making the trade salary neutral. Presumably Kevin Pritchard hopes that shoring up the Blazers inside defensive presence will give the Blazers a firmer push into the playoffs than they would’ve from the return of Travis Outlaw’s offensive prowess and Steve Blake’s oscillating play.
Camby, 35, has always had a great defensive rating, even on teams that were not that good defensively. Offensively, Camby has maintained an above average PER throughout his 13 year career. Currently Camby has a PER of 18.5 according to Basketball-Reference. His 12.1 rebounds per game is second in the league, while averageing near two blocks, three assists and 1.4 steals.
The Blazers will almost certainly start Camby at center, he is equally able as a power forward. Camby currently makes $9 million. Were the Blazers to re-sign him next year—and Przybilla as well—they’d have quite a formidable front line. Camby is instersting as a potential backup to Oden & Przybilla not only because of their injuries, but becuase his own tribulations could provide a good model and inspiration for Oden (at one point Camby played 58 games over the span of two seasons).
Of course, Portland loses Travis Outlaw, a high flying fan favorite who can score from anywhere and Steve Blake, a steady if unspectacular point guard who always plays hard and has a great stroke from beyond the arc. It is also interesting that, as things currently stand, GM Kevin Pritchard seems to be showing such faith in Jerryd Bayless, who has been everything but consistent this season.
Both Blake and Outlaw’s contracts expire at the end of the season and Portland would likely be able to re-sign one of the two with part of the Mid-Level-Exception in July. It is unlikely that Portland could manage to re-sign both.
The loss of Steve Blake will open up more playing time Rudy Fernandez and perhaps increase Patty Mills chances of seeing the court this season and/or Peterri Koponen’s chances of being brought over from Europe.
I believe the loss of Outlaw will not be felt as deeply because the team has played so many games without him this season. As Outlaw played power forward almost exclusively last year, Juwan Howard, Dante Cunningham, and Jeff Pendergraph will all continue to back up Aldridge and Camby with Cunningham likely seeing spot minutes at the small forward position. Small forward will continue to be held down by Webster and Batum with the aforementioned spot minutes of Cunningham, along with Roy or Rudy in a three guard lineup. The loss of Outlaw’s bench scoring will hopefully be mitigated by the rise of Jerryd Bayless and a return to last season’s form by Rudy Fernandez, although both slumped their way into the All-Star break.
Steve Blake is a steady veteran who doesn’t make many mistakes and Travis Outlaw is Brandon Roy’s best friend on the team, a locker room glue guy, and one of the most interesting characters on the Blazer’s team. Both will be missed, though possibly not for long.