As mentioned in this space before, one of the key elements of being a Clipper fan is delusion-fueled optimism.
With that in mind, I’ve talked myself into liking the recently-completed trade of Marcus Camby for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and about $1.5 million in cash.
It instantly improves the Clippers’ depth, even with Outlaw likely needing a few weeks to get his game legs back once he returns to the court this month. In Blake, the Clippers have someone who can more-than adequately fill in for Baron Davis for key stretches, something that likely cost them the Atlanta game prior to the All-Star break, and they have someone in Blake who is a good enough shooter and an effective enough defender to fill in at the 2 when needed. What often gets overlooked in discussions about the Blazers was the fact that Steve Blake is actually a hell of a basketball player.
And the fact that Outlaw had in-season surgery and will likely produce lower than expected numbers this season, both of which could end up helping the Clippers if they look to re-sign him this off-season and look for a home-team discount. If both players stay next season, the team’s depth will not be the gaping hole it is this year. And at the very least, they’ll have Outlaw’s Bird Rights this off-season, which would allow them to re-sign him and not go over the cap. And yes, those same Bird Rights can be traded. Maybe even as part of a sign-and-trade.
Of course, if both players stay, it means that the Clippers worst fear likely came true: they got snubbed by the marquee free agents they’re expected to court this summer.
By letting Camby leave, the Clippers will have to take the training wheels off DeAndre Jordan – for better or worse. Jordan appears to have the physical tools to be an impact player in the NBA and will now be given the regular minutes to see if he’s able to make the move from physically-gifted athlete to full-fledged NBA regular.
Also, the team had to waive Ricky Davis to get under the roster maximum and anytime that happens, it’s just addition by subtraction.
Not including Sebastian Telfair in the deal is troubling, even if it was likely a deal-breaker for the Trailblazers. I’ve read and heard on the radio this morning that the Clippers will likely park Telfair (and his player-option for next season) on the end of the bench in hopes of his mood spoiling to the point where he elects not to excerise said option. So you’re going to tell me Sebastian Telfair is stupid enough to walk away from $2.5 million guaranteed to sign a deal with another team that is virtually assured to be less? All the while knowing that the Clippers would look to trade him next season anyway? I know he’s displayed some ridiculous behavior in the past, but I don’t think Bassy is that dumb.
Either way, it’s complete and the team will play at Portland tonight. I haven’t heard one way or the other, but I doubt that Blake or Camby play for their respective new teams tonight.