Blazers trade for Marcus Camby

With centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla sidelined, the Trail Blazers have acquired Marcus Camby.

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired the Clippers’ Marcus Camby, the center they’ve desperately needed since they lost both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla to season-ending injuries.

In return, Los Angeles receives point guard Steve Blake and small forward Travis Outlaw.

Portland will also send $1.5 million to Los Angeles in the trade and is responsible for $2 million in incentives Camby will earn before season’s end, sources said Tuesday.

This is a fairly low-risk move for the Blazers, since Camby is in the last year of his contract. Blake and Outlaw are also in the final years of their respective deals, and there’s a good chance that neither player would be back next season, so why not make a move for one of the best defensive centers in the league?

At 35 years-old, Camby is averaging 8-12 with almost two blocks per game, so he should be able to shore up Portland’s interior defense and rebounding. His PER (18.54) is #13 amongst centers, though Camby has been playing mostly power forward this season.

For the Clippers, the prize of this trade is Outlaw, a 25-year-old swingman who averaged 13-4 the last two seasons. He will push Al Thornton for minutes at small forward. Thornton has had a disappointing year and has lost playing time to Rasual Butler, of all people. Outlaw was expendable in Portland due his expiring contract and the Blazers’ logjam at the wing.

With Blake out of the picture, Portland will rely on Andre Miller and Jerryd Bayless at point guard. Both players have played pretty well this season, which prompted GM Kevin Pritchard to make this move. The Blazers are sitting in the #8 spot in the West, and Camby’s arrival should help the team’s chances of making some noise in the postseason.

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Marc Stein’s trade talk: Amare, Tyson, Richard Jefferson and more

The trade deadline is Thursday, and trade talk is really heating up. Marc Stein gives us the latest.

Two rival executives we spoke with Sunday night immediately wondered whether the Suns’ decision to replace Terry Porter with Alvin Gentry would convince Phoenix to “tap the brakes,” as one put it, on its Stoudemire talks. If the Suns are going to try to recapture a semblance of what they had under Mike D’Antoni, with the only holdover from D’Antoni’s staff taking over, you can understand why Gentry would prefer to have Stoudemire for the rest of the season to help the cause.

Stoudemire is still under contract for another season, so it wouldn’t hurt the Suns if they wanted to see what Gentry could do with this group before moving their star player over the summer. I’d say that the Porter firing makes it more likely that Stoudemire stays put, though I’d still put the chances at better than 50/50 that Amare is moved before the trade deadline.

Read the rest after the jump...

Blazers impressive in win over Magic

The Portland Trail Blazers are 4-3, but they’ve played a difficult schedule thus far. With losses against the Lakers, Suns and Jazz, and wins against the Spurs, Rockets, Timberwolves and Magic, Portland has only played one “easy” game all year.

They lost Greg Oden 13 minutes into the first game of the season, but with good play from Brandon Roy (20.9 ppg, 5.7 apg) and LaMarcus Aldridge (18.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg), they’ve been able to win all three home games, and last night they were able to beat a good Orlando team on the road.

Rudy Fernandez (14.0 ppg) and Travis Outlaw (13.6 ppg) are providing some serious punch off the bench, though it’s not clear why one of them isn’t starting over Nicolas Batum (5.4 ppg), who has started four games this season.

With the schedule lightening up and Oden due back any day now, the Blazers’ prospects look pretty good. Barring an injury to Roy or Aldridge, the Trail Blazers should be a playoff team, even in the rough and tumble West.

2008 NBA Preview: #13 Portland Trail Blazers

Offseason Movement: The two big additions this offseason were Rudy Fernandez, a versatile Manu Ginobili-like Spanish wing and Jerryd Bayless, a University of Arizona combo guard dripping with potential. In addition, the team will get Greg Oden back from an injury that knocked him out of the 2007-08 season.
Keep Your Eye On: Rudy Fernandez
Based on his play against Team USA in Beijing, I think Fernandez is ready to contribute now. He might be a little short (6’5”) to play small forward, but if the team elects to put Brandon Roy and Fernandez on the wing, they’ll be a formidable duo. Fernandez has a nice jumper and is athletic enough to take it to the rack. (He even dunked on Dwight Howard in the Olympics.)
The Big Question: How quickly will the Blazers mature?
A quick look at the team’s core reveals the Blazers’ biggest fault, and maybe its biggest strength: Roy (24 years-old), Oden (20), LaMarcus Aldridge (23), Bayless (20), Martell Webster (21), Fernandez (23), Travis Outlaw (24), Channing Frye (25). They are young. This group could be destined for great things, but it’s a matter of experience and maturity.
Outlook: Bright. Kevin Pritchard has done a wonderful job remaking this roster in short order. The coup was landing Brandon Roy, who turned out to be an All-Star caliber guard. Obviously, the addition of Greg Oden (assuming he pans out as expected) should give the franchise two stars to build around. And even though the team currently has a huge payroll ($81 million), a good portion of that ($38) is being paid to guys that aren’t even on the team anymore. The Blazers project to have a ton of cap space in the summer of 2010, when a number of stars will hit the free agent market. In fact, aside from the fact that Portland is not Brooklyn, the Blazers might represent LeBron James’ best shot at a championship. (Don’t worry, Nets fans, I don’t think that Portland is a big enough of a market for King James.)

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