Blazers Add Camby For Stretch Run

By Ross Everett

The Portland Trailblazers have needed a big inside presence ever since starting center Greg Oden and backup Joel Pryzbilla went down with season ending injuries. They finally found one on Tuesday as they acquired veteran Marcus Camby from the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers received forward Travis Outlaw and guard Steve Blake. Camby is expected to make his debut in a Blazers' uniform on Friday when Portland hosts the Boston Celtics.

The transaction also served to answer the nagging question about Portland's point guard situation. Steve Blake and Andre Miller have shared time running the offense, but Blazers' management apparently felt that Miller was a better fit with superstar shooting guard Brandon Roy.

All three players involved are in the final year of their current contract, meaning that barring anything unforeseen Camby's career in Portland will probably last only 23 games plus the playoffs. Outlaw and Blake may or may not fit into the Clippers longterm plans-assuming that one of the NBA's most consistently underachieving teams actually has 'longterm plans' in the first place.

Camby indicated that he was excited to be going to the Blazers:

"I think it's a great situation for myself. It's a first-class organization that really takes care of their own. I hope I can bring my knowledge of the game, and blend in these last 27 games. I'm really excited to be here."

He talked about the strange situation of actually being in Portland when the trade went down:

"I only brought one change of clothes. It's been a real rough, rough 24 hours for me, but real exciting at the same time."

Camby also said that he's interesting in staying in 'Rip City' longterm:

"Hopefully things work out for myself and work out for the team. Hopefully they have plans for me in the long term."

Portland GM Kevin Pritchard added:

"We are very excited to bring an experienced big man of Marcus' caliber to the team and we feel he'll help us a great deal down the stretch run. He's a fierce competitor and has been one of the league's best defensive players for quite some time."

The 35 year old Camby has long been considered one of the NBA's best defensive big men. Despite playing on a LA Clippers team well off the playoff pace in the Western Conference, he's second in the league in rebounds with 12.1 per game. - 31494

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