Clippers Trade Camby for Cash

The Clippers management has thrown in the towel on the season.

It was pretty clear in an ugly loss to Golden State just before the All-Star Break that the Clippers players had given up on the season.

Now the Clippers management has, too.

The Clippers have traded popular forward and defensive stalwart Marcus Camby to the Portland Trailblazers for injured forward Travis Outlaw, backup guard Steve Blake, and $1.5 million in cash. While for Portland, this was a basketball move, Camby fills a big need for the injury depleted Portland Trailblazers along the front line. For the Clippers, it was all about saving a couple million dollars.

This is the Clippers management throwing in the towel on the season, which is not wrong. This team is not headed to the playoffs. The question is how do they take advantage of this going forward? They have the pieces to do it.

Blake is a solid backup NBA point guard, which is more than they have right now behind Baron Davis. Outlaw, who is expected to be healthy and return in several weeks, has the possibility of being better than Al Thornton or Rasual Butler at the small forward spot. Basically, the Clippers could get a little upgrade at those spots.

They take a big downgrade for the rest of this year at power forward, but starting next year, that is supposed to be top pick Blake Griffin's spot for the next decade. He just needs to stay healthy. Same with All-Star Chris Kaman at center.

Plus, the Clippers now have even more cap space to lure a top-flight free agent to the team. If they do it, the Clippers will again have a pretty good lineup going into next season.

But that is just never how it works out for the Clippers. Mike Dunleavy is out as coach but will be around next year as general manager. Who the new coach will be is unknown, however the way players have responded so far it is unlikely to be interim Kim Hughes. There will be front office power struggles between Dunleavy and the coach. Top-flight free agents won't come and the Clippers will settle and overpay for lesser talent. Someone will get hurt or just have a disappointing season. It always happens.

It's just part of watching the Clippers. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the Clippers, but it's always an oncoming train.

Kurt Helin lives in Los Angeles and is the lead writer on NBC's NBA blog Pro Basketball Talk (which you can also follow in twitter).

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