Camby move to L.A. great for Clips, good for Nuggets, bad for Smith
The Clippers made a bold but risky move, the Nuggets are left defenseless and
The Clippers' decision to acquire Camby from the Nuggets was a curious one. While at one point in his career the 6-foot-11, 235-pound Camby could have been considered a power forward, he has been predominantly a center for the last seven seasons. Los Angeles, however, already has a pretty good player entrenched at that position:
Still, if Camby can shift to the vacant power forward spot, in the wake of
For the Nuggets, who acquired a $10 million trade exception along with the right to swap 2010 second-round picks with the Clippers, the deal was purely a financial one. Denver had the fifth-highest payroll ($76.9 million) in the league last season but barely made the playoffs and was swept out of the first round by the Lakers -- the fifth straight time the Nuggets failed to advance in the postseason. With several bloated contracts on the roster -- namely
The Nuggets will lose a formidable defensive presence in Camby, but as one Western Conference assistant coach put it, "They weren't playing defense with him, they can play it just as bad without him."
The big loser in this deal may be the Hawks' Smith. A restricted free agent, Smith has seen the market for his services dry up quickly. Philadelphia was believed to be the front-runner, but the Sixers pivoted and spent their money on Brand. After dining with Clippers coach
Smith's options are now limited. Memphis is the only team with enough free-agent money to make a serious offer, but the Grizzlies recently made a commitment to
The Hawks would likely raise the five-year, $45 million offer that Smith turned down last summer, but money will not be the only factor in the 22-year-old power forward's returning to Atlanta. As I reported in
A more appealing, but less plausible scenario could be for Smith to sign the one-year qualifying offer with Atlanta and try his luck in free agency next season. But after putting up staggering numbers last season (17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game), Smith will likely be looking for the security of a long-term deal.
If he wants it, he'll get it. It will just be less appealing than the one he thought he was getting when he entered free agency. He can thank the Sixers and Clippers for that.
A few quick nuggets from the NBA summer league...
• The talk here continues to be about the future of