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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Camby Trade: Mark Warkentien is no Garry Kasparov

Illustration for article titled Camby Trade: Mark Warkentien is no Garry Kasparov

So the Denver Nuggets traded the only guy on their roster who sometimes kinda-sorta plays defense — Marcus Camby, the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year — to the Los Angeles Clippers for...wait, what was that again? The option to exchange second-round picks with the Clips in 2010 and a $10 million trade exception that they probably won't even use?



According to Nuggets vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman: "We felt like we needed to shake things up and do something a little bit radical to be able to create flexibility going forward."

If by "radical" he means "strip a team that barely made the playoffs and got bounced in the first round of one of its premier talents for absolutely nothing in return," then he's right. The move was totally radical. It's kind of like how the Empire left that gaping exhaust vent in the Death Star. Only the hole in the Nuggets' interior defense is going to be much bigger than a womp rat.

Of course, it was a money thing, plain and simple. Mark Warkentien, Denver's vice president of basketball operations, said the trade gives the Nuggets — who, according to HoopsHype, have the league's ninth highest payroll ($68,906,392) even without Camby's salary — future financial flexibility. "It's not a checkers move. It's a chess move. Chess is a tougher game to understand, you've got to wait longer to see the results of the move."

I think he confused the Bugayev Attack with Wolferts Gambit. And he also seems to have misunderstood one critical point: One of his key pieces — the Queen in this analogy, I guess — probably isn't going to hold up that much longer. Allen Iverson is 33 going on 80. I mean, has Warkentien ever watched Iverson play? Has he seen his list of injuries? By the time Warkentien gets to see the results of this move, the Nuggets medical staff might have to scoop what's left of A.I. into a sandwich bag and ship it to his next of kin. (Unless of course they've designed an unstoppable robot body to put Iverson's brain into. That would be awesome.)

But hey, maybe I'm overreacting. I'm sure Nene' will have a career year and more than make up for Camby's absence. Excuse me a second. (Bwahahahahah!) Okay. I'm back.


Anyway, Chapman hasn't said for sure that the Nuggets won't make another move before the 2008-09 season starts. "It's a fluid situation. Are we going to continue to look for ways to improve the team? Absolutely. We felt like the right trade came along at the right time. We felt like we needed to strike while the iron was hot. We're not going to make a bad deal. We're not satisfied with winning 50 games or getting to the playoffs. Our goal is to win a championship. We felt like we needed to shake things up and be able to have flexibility going forward to put a championship team on the court."

Did anyone else notice the seven or eight blatent contradictions in that quote?

And if you think that the Clippers "won" this trade with their En passant move, think again. The "other" L.A. team now boasts non-complimentary twin towers. I mean, isn't Marcus Camby just a better version of Chris Kaman? They both rebound and play defense — although Kaman is more of a banger while Camby likes is a shot-blocking paratrooper — but neither of them have a polished offensive game. Can you see Baron Davis running the pick-and-roll with either of these guys? Or dishing it to them on the fast break? Can they fast break?


But little things like "facts" won't keep Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy from humping his clipboard in freakish delight. "I love this acquisition for the current makeup of our team. We are getting a consummate pro who is maybe the best team defender in the league and who has 60 playoff games under his belt."

And that's the sad state of Clipperdom: The mere fact that he's played 60 playoff games with other teams makes Camby one of the greatest Clippers of all-time. You know, Greg Ostertag appeared in 89 playoff games. Why not give him a call, Mike?