The New York Knicks continued to spend for quality depth before the end of the July Moratorium, agreeing to terms with veteran center Marcus Camby on a three-year, $13 million contract Monday in a sign-and-trade deal with Houston that will send Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson and Jerome Jordan to the Rockets, along with two future second-round picks.
The 38-year-old Camby is still a productive player, averaging 7.1 points and 9.3 rebounds last season in 24 minutes a night for the Rockets after being traded to Houston from Portland for Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. In New York he’ll be the backup to starter Tyson Chandler at center and spot Amar’e Stoudemire at power forward. It will be Camby’s second tour of duty in New York, after playing for the Knicks from 1998-2002.
His deal, according to a source, is only partially guaranteed for the third season, meaning it will either be a two-year deal for $10 million or revert to the three-year, $13 million deal if New York decides to keep him.
Douglas saw significant playing time as a rookie, but injuries and the electric play of Jeremy Lin consigned him to a deep reserve role last season. But in Houston, Douglas will be one of the few point guards on the roster. The Rockets have committed to giving Lin a four-year deal worth $28 million when the free-agent moratorium ends on July 11, but the Knicks are almost certain to match.
New York also agreed to terms last week with Jason Kidd to be Lin’s backup next season. Houston lost free agent Goran Dragic to the Suns in a free-agent deal and opted to trade last season’s starter at the beginning of the year, Kyle Lowry, to Toronto for a conditional Lottery pick.
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Our infatuation with the Chicago Bulls this summer has angered some in the shadow of the Windy City, namely a few fans of their neighbors to the north and west in Milwaukee.
“The Bulls aren’t the only Central Division team on the rise,” one email reminded us late last week.
“We’ve got our own [potential] superstar point guard in Brandon Jennings, an All-Star caliber big man in Andrew Bogut and a proven coach in Scott Skiles,” another said, “plus we’ve got the reigning Executive of the Year in John Hammond, who has put together a solid supporting cast that is every bit as good as what the Bulls will trot out on the floor this season. Fear the Dear!”
These don’t register as simple complaints from biased observers. Bucks fans have a right to demand their team receive its due as one of the league’s up and coming outfits. They were better than the Bulls at the end of last season, playing without Bogut down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Why shouldn’t they be included in the conversation of the most promising young teams in the league?
No team in the Central Division, including the Bulls, has added more than the Bucks. They traded for assets — Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts and the highly underrated Jon Brockman, an instant fan favorite in Fear The Deer Country. They signed free agents — John Salmons, Drew Gooden, Keyon Dooling — to fit specific needs. And they drafted plenty of talent, including Larry Sanders, Darrington Hobson, Jerome Jordan and Tiny Gallon (Sanders is the only draft pick guaranteed a roster spot).
“It’s players that can help us win and players that we think are assets around the NBA,” he said. “That’s really what it comes down to when you put your roster together. If you look at guys on your roster and say that he’s not an asset around the NBA and he’s not an asset on your team, then you have yourself in a position where you need to make some moves.
“The thing I like about our roster is all 12 guys that we have are assets to us and assets around the NBA. I like that part about where we’re at.”
A healthy Bogut turns this team into a major problem inside. And having Salmons and Maggette on the wing alongside Jennings keeps things intact on the perimeter. Dependable role players like Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute, should not be overlooked either.
The one player the Bucks lost that worried us was HT fave Luke Ridnour, who has moved on to that point guard festival in Minnesota. But the signing of Dooling takes care of that.
Dooling is bigger and more physical than Ridnour, giving the Bucks a veteran option behind Jennings capable of handling the bigger guards teams used to defend the surprisingly durable Jennings (he started all 89 games for the Bucks last season) in an attempt to slow him down.
“In today’s NBA, with the way the rules are, it’s so important to have a guy who can guard the ball on top,” Weltman said. “And Keyon has always been a premier NBA defender. He’s got length and quickness and as he’s gotten older, he’s figured it out.
“The other nice thing about Keyon is he takes pride in it. He’s a good fit with (coach) Scott (Skiles); he fits into the team we want to be.”
Plenty of folks have fallen in love with the star power the Bulls will have on display this season. And we’re on board. We believe Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and the crew will be a major factor in the Eastern Conference this season.
But the Bucks should be in the mix, too.
They’ve got all the ingredients to make some noise of their own this season.