Monday, July 2, 2012
Source: Camby in NY would be 'terrific'
By Jared Zwerling
A source close to Marcus Camby told ESPNNewYork.com on Monday that the unrestricted free agent would be interested in returning to the Knicks.
"Marcus lives in New York in the offseason, and if it works out there, it would be terrific," the source said.
Camby, 38, played for the Knicks from 1998 to 2002 and started at center in the 1999 Finals against the Spurs, replacing the injured Patrick Ewing. Camby has also played for the Raptors, Nuggets, Clippers, Blazers and, most recently, the Rockets.
Matt Campbell/AFP/Getty ImagesMarcus Camby spent four seasons with the Knicks, 1998-99 through 2001-02.
The Knicks could use a veteran big man off the bench who changes the game on defense. Camby is a four-time blocks leader who was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2007.
Camby could be open to the team's midlevel exception of $3.09 million. That will be available only if the Knicks sign-and-trade for a free-agent point guard, which is No. 1 on their list because they're the weakest at that position on the depth chart.
If the Knicks sign a top free-agent point guard to the midlevel amount, the source would be "shocked" if Camby accepts the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million. The 16-year veteran could likely command more than $3.09 million, because he earned roughly $11.2 million in 2011-12 with the Blazers and Rockets, and he is still serviceable. Missing only seven regular-season games last season, he averaged 4.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.
The source said Camby's priority is to be a starter, which wouldn't happen in New York with Tyson Chandler holding down the middle. But the Knicks would certainly be considered, the source said, because Camby wants to compete and win, and the team is in the position to do that next season. The source said Camby has a great relationship with GM Glen Grunwald, who was the assistant general manager in Toronto in 1996 when the Raptors made the center the second pick in that year's NBA draft.
The source said a lot of calls have come in inquiring about Camby and that a decision won't be rushed about where he'll play next season. Camby is on vacation until this weekend.
"There are a lot of different options and scenarios. It's wait-and-see mode right now," the source said. "But Marcus loved playing in New York, and one of his favorite times in the NBA was in New York."
The source said many agents are working patiently with their clients during the free-agency process and not rushing any decisions. Many are waiting to see how Deron Williams, Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert dictate the market, while learning the ins and outs of the new free-agent language in the collective bargaining agreement.
"Patience is a virtue during this free agency," the source said.
Reflecting on his time in New York earlier in the year, Camby told ESPNNewYork.com that his favorite memory was playing at Madison Square Garden, especially during the playoffs.
"I think there are no fans like New York fans," he said in late April. "They know the game of basketball. You can't fool those guys about anything. When you're playing bad, they let you know about it, so I have a lot of respect for those fans."