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And There's a Steal By Baylor!

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A Daily Babble Production

In a thoroughly unprecedented and unexpected development, we may be closing in on Jeff placing an embargo on Clippers content in this space after an influx of commentary on the little brother team in the City of Angels over the past couple of weeks. 

But after speculation about free agents galore, namely Emeka Okafor and Josh Smith, the executive Elgin Baylor and his Clippers got their frontcourt man last night, and given the cost (or lack thereof) required to get him, a hearty congratulations is in order.

The Clippers have reportedly acquired big man Marcus Camby from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for all of one second round draft pick. 

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, and there is plenty to like about it for the Staples Center's set of red-and-blue tenants.

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Camby is no doubt a fantastic pick-up for a team that was looking to shore up its defensive front line.  The Clips get the Association's second best average rebounder from a season ago, and along with center Chris Kaman, they will now boast the league's first and third-ranked players in average shot-blocing.  Camby has played some of the best basketball of his career over the last two seasons, becoming known as a top-notch rebounder and an excellent weak-side defender, shot-blocker and overall presence on the interior.  Certainly, his statistical production is likely to decline a bit through moving out of Denver's top-paced system, but he has been a double-digit-per-game rebounder throughout much of his career.  The combination of Camby and Kaman should be monstrous on the glass.

Camby's versatility will also be quite helpful for this team.  Though the Baron Davis acquisition might seem to intimate that the Clips will pick up the pace next year, both reader Who and Meadville Tribune reporter (and former Clippers blogger) Bill Powell remind us that head man Mike Dunleavy Sr. loves to slow down the pace and look into the post on most of his sets.  Camby spent the last few years showing that he could run the floor with the up-tempo Nugs, but he also spent a good portion of the early part of his career with the grind-it-out Jeff Van Gundy-era Knicks.  He can fill lanes with Baron on the break or help clean the glass for an offense likely to feature the much-improved Kaman on the blocks, and he'll likely be productive in either case.

Even the age question resolves itself nicely.  Though Camby is already 34 years old, he has shown over the last couple of seasons that he can still play quite a bit, and he only has two years left on his contract.  Camby's deal will come off the books in time for the Clips to clear space for the highly touted free agent class of summer 2010, and if the Clips still feel that he has some value to them at that point, they should be able to re-sign him for less than the average $7.8 million he'll make over the next two years.  In the meantime, he makes the team better in the present and adds another high-character presence and veteran leader to the locker room.

Certainly, the Camby acquisition brings in less offensive firepower than some of the other possibilities the Clips had been rumored to be looking at, but between Camby's defensive contribution and the rest of the developing young line-up falling into place in Los Angeles, that may not be all that much of a problem.  All in all, it's hard to complain about this one.  Good work, Elgin.