Marcus Camby excited for Rockets
Houston acquired the two veterans in separate deals on Thursday with the hope of bolstering a playoff push. The Rockets are 24-20 and currently hold the No. 8 spot in the West with road games this weekend against the L.A. Clippers and Phoenix.
General manager Daryl Morey said the 6-foot-11 Camby is still one of the league's elite defensive players and rebounders. He was named the league's top defensive player in 2007, and he ranks 10th in career blocked shots per game (2.46).
Camby was averaging 8.8 rebounds in about 22 minutes per game with Portland this season. He'll likely back up Samuel Dalembert.
"People are very familiar with his game, having been in the league for quite a while (16 years)," Morey said Friday. "I think people aren't familiar with how effective he still is."
Camby, who turns 38 next week, says he wants to play for 20 seasons and finish his career in Houston. He passed a physical on Friday and met his team on the tarmac at a Houston airport in the early afternoon.
"It feels good to be home," he said. "I'm excited about our chances of getting in the playoff race right now. I'm just ready to go."
Fisher, meanwhile, was a no-show in Houston after the Lakers dealt him and a first-round pick to the Rockets for forward Jordan Hill. The Rockets need a backup point guard immediately, with starter Kyle Lowry slowly recovering from a bacterial infection and Goran Dragic starting. Lowry is expected to return in 2-3 weeks.
The Lakers felt they needed to deal Fisher, with Steve Blake and newly acquired Ramon Sessions on the roster. Fisher played most of his 16 seasons in Los Angeles and won five championships with Kobe Bryant.
Morey would not comment when asked directly about Fisher's status, only acknowledging that the trade with the Lakers was final. Fisher has a player option worth $3.4 million next season.
"Right now, I can just say that the trade obviously happened," Morey said.
Houston also cut forward Terrence Williams. The 6-6 Williams averaged 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12 games this season. Williams, a former first-round pick out of Louisville, never found a niche after the Rockets acquired him in a trade with New Jersey in December 2010, and his contract runs out after this season.
"We've got a very strong wing rotation," Morey said, "and we wanted to give Terrence an opportunity to play somewhere in a contract year."
The Rockets are still chasing that elusive superstar they hope will catapult them into the upper tier of the Western Conference. Coach Kevin McHale is confident that Camby and a point guard -- if not Fisher, then someone else -- will be enough to get Houston into the postseason.
"Of course, they've got to get here and get acclimated," McHale said. "There's only a month left in the season, so it's kind of a tough thing to do. But we'll get them on the fly and get them comfortable as soon as we can."
Camby says "things were going crazy" in Portland in recent weeks. The Blazers followed a flurry of roster moves with the firing of coach Nate McMillan. Camby spoke with Morey on Thursday night, and thinks he can fit in with the Rockets immediately.
"I think I'm more excited about being here, than they are in having me," Camby said. "Just looking forward to blending in with the guys. It's kind of new to me. I kind of feel like -- have you ever felt like the new kid in school? The new kid comes into school that just moved into town. I've got that nervous feeling, but once I get out there on the court, it's just basketball."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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