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View Full Version : Why Did the Denver Nuggets Trade Marcus Camby?



DenButsu
07-16-2008, 02:19 AM
At a first glance, the Denver Nuggets front office's decision to trade Marcus Camby to the Los Angeles Clippers for nothing more than the option of swapping second round draft picks in 2010 makes absolutely no sense.

On the team reputed more than any other to play no defense, Camby was known as the Nuggets' defensive stalwart. Allen Iverson could get away with his high-risk steal attempts because he knew Camby had his back with the block if his man blew by him. Carmelo Anthony could marginally get away with minimal defensive efforts, because he knew Camby's serviceable help defense would come to his rescue often enough to mask that laziness to a degree.

Camby was the final line of protection on a defensive squad more porous than SpongeBob.

So on the surface it seems insane that Denver would let him go at all. But when you dig a little bit deeper...

Well, it doesn't exactly go down easy, and this will go down in NBA history as one of the Top 10 Most Idiotic Trades ever. A lot of basketball fans right now are talking about how this makes the Memphis Grizzlies front office's Pau Gasol giveaway look good; and a lot of basketball fans are right.

For one fact about this trade is inescapable: The Nuggets gave Camby away for absolutely nothing in return. Which is not to say they didn't end up with anything, but that they demanded nothing be given up by the Clippers in exchange for Marcus Camby, their starting center, 2008 All-Defensive Team, 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, the man who led the NBA in blocks this season and was second in rebounding. They gave him away for free.

That was just stupid. There's no two ways around it. They could have, should have, and would have gotten more if they'd just tried a little bit harder. And as a very loyal Nuggets fan, I'm just sick to my stomach not only that they didn't demand more from the Clippers (or whoever else they might have dealt Camby to), but that they have disrespected his many years of great service to this team by more or less saying through their actions that he is worthless.

That's cold. And I'm bitter.

But in trying to sift through the details, can any sense be made of all of this? Is there any reasonable justification for this apparent idiocy? Why Did the Denver Nuggets Trade Marcus Camby?

Money, money, money, money. Money.

That's the bottom line.

Early this morning, before the deal had gone down, the Nuggets were fairly deep in the luxury tax, which has been set for the 2008-09 season at $71.15 million. Before trading away Camby's approximately $9 million salary, Denver was nearly $5 million over the tax threshold, with a payroll approaching $76 million. Now they're more than $4 million under the threshold. Granted, this situation won't last long as they will almost certainly re-sign J.R. Smith to a contract that's likely at or just above the mid-level exception of about $5.6 million. But since every dollar spent over the luxury tax is doubled, Camby's departure will save Denver approximately $20 million in the upcoming season and nearly $40 million in all.

So the first thing the Nuggets have gained by trading away Camby is increased flexibility. The re-signing of J.R. Smith will be much less painful this way, and they now probably are more likely to feel they can spend money using their MLE and BAE on younger players that will help with the future development of the team. In fact, this will almost be a necessity since the departure not only of Camby but also of power forward Eduardo Najera has left their frontcourt badly depleted, and they still lack a legitimate starting point guard.

The option for swapping picks in 2010 is, of course, completely meaningless.

What they truly received in exchange for Camby is not what the Clippers gave them (nothing), but a trade exception in the amount of Camby's salary.

Now that could be something. Could be. If a) the Nuggets in fact use the exception, and b) in using it get a player of true quality that will at least partially make up for Camby's absence and, along with the increased financial flexibility, maybe even make the overall situation come out somewhat balanced.

What we don't know yet is if this move is merely a pure salary dump or a preliminary move to enable one or more further acquisitions this offseason. If it's the latter, then the Denver Nuggets front office may at least partially redeem themselves in the eyes of fans and other observers. They still have the opportunity to prove that there was method to their madness.

But nothing will ever change the hard, cold truth that they gave Camby away for nothing.

And that will be a permanent scar on this front office in the eyes of this Nuggets fan.

AIMelo=KillaDUO
07-16-2008, 03:55 AM
Tell Em Den!

daleja424
07-16-2008, 07:48 AM
Bad move. To trade away the only defender on a team that gives up 110 ppg is sickening. Plus Camby expires in 2010. Why not move Martin? Nene? Why not opt to not resign Smith, who isn't even a starter...

If AI walks away from Denver next year...The nuggs will be a significantly worse team...yet will still not have cap room to target someone to make them better.

If this move got them under the CAP then its once thing...but this doesn't help them short term OR long term? So whats the point? Next summer they will be over the cap again...and the following summer they could have a little cap room but Camby expires anyways... are you telling me you couldn't wait out the summer and see if anyone would take on nene or martin??? And if camby had to be traded wasn't there more out there?

C-Webb
07-16-2008, 11:22 AM
Agreed... Trading Camby only makes so much to begin with given the defensive presence of this team, and other salaries they could have unloaded which would have made more long term financial sense - BUT - to only give him away for nothing that gives you future pieces to bargain with is a joke. A first rounder or multiple second round picks goes a lot further for no more immediate salary loss than what they got... I don't see how Melo or Iverson view this as a way to improve the team in the competitive West.

sunsalltheway03
07-16-2008, 01:02 PM
Unless this is a preliminary move for something that we don't yet know about. I mean, if it is, then it kinda makes sense to why they made such a move. But if this is it and this wasn't a precursor to any other move, then this is just embarassing.

daleja424
07-16-2008, 08:21 PM
Unless this is a preliminary move for something that we don't yet know about. I mean, if it is, then it kinda makes sense to why they made such a move. But if this is it and this wasn't a precursor to any other move, then this is just embarassing.

what could this have possibly done for them??? They aren't going to actually use the trade exception or they would go right back into the luxury... I dont see a single move they could make that wouldnt have worked with camby on the team...

Iodine
07-16-2008, 08:31 PM
They did it because winning is overated

DenButsu
07-16-2008, 09:58 PM
what could this have possibly done for them??? They aren't going to actually use the trade exception or they would go right back into the luxury... I dont see a single move they could make that wouldnt have worked with camby on the team...

They can use the trade exception until July 2009, which probably means they intend to use it after AI's $21 million contract expires next season and they are very securely under the luxury threshold.

daleja424
07-16-2008, 10:01 PM
They can use the trade exception until July 2009, which probably means they intend to use it after AI's $21 million contract expires next season and they are very securely under the luxury threshold.

hmm... If thats there master plan... too lose for another year and look to next offseason, Melo and Nug fans will NOT be happy. Look at how this thinking is doing for NY and NJ... If you look too far inot the future...Melo is going to walk.

DenButsu
07-16-2008, 10:35 PM
hmm... If thats there master plan... too lose for another year and look to next offseason, Melo and Nug fans will NOT be happy. Look at how this thinking is doing for NY and NJ... If you look too far inot the future...Melo is going to walk.

Now this I would agree with. I know for a fact that a lot of people are calling the Pepsi Center right about now and canceling the season tickets they've held for years. There's still a lot of time left in the offseason for the FO to make more moves and to put together an explanation for the fans. Whether or not what they do is sufficient to make the fans at least grudgingly accept this decision remains to be seen. But if no explanation is forthcoming, then this was just a horribly sloppy move in terms of PR.

I personally am not so bothered by the fact of Camby being traded as by the fact that it was for nothing. I didn't think we were going anyplace with the current roster anyhow, and I've basically been in support of moving both AI and Camby and going younger for a long time. But my visions of a Camby trade involved names like Hinrich, Marcus Williams, Sean Williams... and sure didnt include "option to swap 2010 2nd rounders". That's just lame.

DreamShaker
07-17-2008, 04:14 AM
Great article Den....The Nuggets have put themselves in a deep hole and they got rid of the wrong front-court player....they should have traded Martin when they had the chance a few years ago....and are paying for it now....the guy is set to make 14 million dollars this season....and is a mediocre player now....

Wrigleyboy25
07-17-2008, 04:19 AM
What's strange to me is I can't even imagine a GM starting off a conversation with "we'll maybe give you are second round pick" let alone actually being able to make the deal.

DreamShaker
07-17-2008, 04:57 AM
What's strange to me is I can't even imagine a GM starting off a conversation with "we'll maybe give you are second round pick" let alone actually being able to make the deal.

Actually it's worse than that....it's the ability to SWAP 2nd round picks....

Thearchitect33
07-20-2008, 08:56 PM
This is just pure craziness. I'm not a Nuggets fan, and I can't claim to follow them very closely, however I have always liked Camby. It is outrageous that they would trade him away for nothing, particularly when he is the only adherent to a proven philosophy on that team...defense wins championships, just ask the Celtics and Pistons. Iverson's and Melo's are all fine and good for putting points on the board and fans in the seats, but you have to balance that with role players who can shut people down.