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The Portland Trailblazers: Rip City Is In It To Win It


William James The Broadside

As many of you NBA fans are aware, the trade deadline to move stars to new locations in the NBA galaxy passed yesterday. And, specifically, you Portland Trailblazers fans now know Portland GM Kevin Pritchard made another deal that could possibly guarantee a second straight post-season appearance for his team. Two days before the trade deadline, Pritchard took a stab at the expiring contract of Los Angeles Clipper center Marcus Camby, making a deal with the Clips to acquire Camby in exchange for guards Steve Blake and long-time Blazer Travis Outlaw, as well as cash considerations.
Now, from a personal standpoint, many Blazer fans are sad to see Blake and Outlaw leave Portland. We have many great memories from these two players, including clutch moments on the court and hilarious moments off-court. If Los Angeles keeps them any appreciable length of time they will benefit from an intelligent, court-savvy point guard in Blake and an athletic, rangy sharpshooter in Outlaw, as well as benefit from their great character and personalities.
From a basketball standpoint this is a brilliant trade. Portland is about as deep as this team can get at the guard position, with such names as Rudy Fernandez, veteran Andre Miller that they acquired earlier in the season from the 76ers, and of course, three-time All Star and Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy lining up in those positions, along with forwards Dante Cunningham, Nicolas Batum and Martell Webster that are able to play the guard position. Now that most of the Blazers have recovered from the recent rash of injuries that plagued this team in the early parts of the season, Portland has once again re-established the deep bench that so many analysts have raved about.

However, with the season-ending knee injuries to both Joel Pryzbilla and Greg Oden, Portland is left in desperate need of somebody that can patrol the center and allow for effective perimeter defense, something the team has been struggling with since Pryzbilla and Oden went down. This is where Camby comes in. Although he is not a scorer, only averaging 7 points a game, Marcus Camby is currently second in the NBA in rebounding —averaging 12.2 rebounds a game— and is sixth in the league in blocked shots, blocking 1.9 shots a game. With Camby, Portland will now be able to match up with the likes of the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Nene of the Denver Nuggets, and San Antonio’s star Tim Duncan.

“I’m going to bring my hard hat every night,” Camby promised at his press conference after the deal was completed.

If this holds true for the end of the season, the Portland Trailblazers may continue their rise back to one of the premier franchises in the West.

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