We continue our look at Portland's trade deadline moves with the exchange between the Blazers and the Houston Rockets, sending Marcus Camby to Houston for Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, and a second-round draft pick reportedly courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Though Kurt Thomas, Joel Przybilla, and LaMarcus Aldridge played minutes at the 5-spot for Portland this year, Marcus Camby was the mainstay of the team in the middle. His per-minute rebounding numbers reached career highs with the rebounding-impoverished Blazers. His blocked shots per minute remained a their high post-prime levels. Camby will also be remembered for his assists to Aldridge from the high post, resulting in dunks more often than not. Even in his heyday Camby was never considered an offensive player. His shots for the Blazers were limited to trebuchet-like tosses from that same high post area. He hit quite a few but his overall shooting percentage dwindled to 42% as opposed to the 46-47% he averaged in his prime. Low shot attempts made his scoring non-existent. Though he was spry at 37 years of age, his capacity to play full-time minutes departed. His 22.4 mpg for the Blazers was the lowest of his career for any season not destroyed by injury. Lower minutes played dulled the shine of those nice per-minute numbers and his aggregate production sank near career-low numbers. His run wasn't done, but you could see the end from here.
The second pick of the 2009 NBA draft, Hasheem Thabeet's stay in the NBA has been inglorious. He's played a grand total of 120 games in his 3-year career. 113 of those came with Memphis, the team who drafted him. He averaged 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for them. Since being traded to the Rockets he's seen the floor only 7 times for a total of 27 minutes. If he does something well in this league his coaches and teammates have yet to discover it. He is 7'3" tall, which is a plus. Without dedication, talent, and skill though all of that height only makes him 2 inches shorter than Chuck Nevitt.
Jonny Flynn was the 6th player selected overall in that same 2009 draft. His best season was his rookie year with Minnesota. Wherein he averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 assists, shooting 42% from the floor and 36% from the arc. The caveat there was the 2009-10 Timberwolves being talent-poor and directionless. Flynn was allowed to do pretty much whatever he wished, which included liberal doses of dominating the ball and calling his own number. When the 'Wolves got more structured, trying to run their version of the triangle offense, Flynn drown. High turnovers and his undisciplined, me-first approach made Minnesota's decision easy. They christened him Pete Best to Ricky Rubio's Ringo, shipping him off to the Houston Rockets. He's appeared in but 11 games for Houston, playing 135 total minutes this season... about 12% of his corresponding total from two years ago. He's shooting 29% from the field this year, 22% from the arc. The only redeeming quality to his play has been his per-minute assist numbers going up while his per-minute turnovers declined. The hope is that he's learning how to be a point guard, though he's showing no signs of being able to score and pass at the same time. Still, the Blazers could be a breath of fresh air for him.
Side Note: Here are the top seven picks of the 2009 NBA Draft: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry. Guess which two the Blazers got?
As with the Gerald Wallace trade to New Jersey, the talent balance here lies in favor of the other team. The ancillary considerations are nowhere near as sterling as a lottery pick in this deal, however. Marcus Camby makes $11.1 million this year on an expiring contract. Thabeet makes $5.1 million, Flynn $3.4 million, also on expiring contracts. The Blazers save in the ballpark of $2.5 million in salary this season, generating a trade exception and offsetting some of the added salary taken on in the Wallace deal. The Blazers also receive a second-round pick, Minnesota's.
Verdict: If the Blazers were going anywhere this season this trade would make no sense at all. Even so, it barely does. Flynn has the greater likelihood of panning out but he's a long-shot. I'm not even sure what Thabeet is...likely just long with no shot at all. The Blazers roll the dice on these two players and save a little money. On the other hand they've put plenty of stress on their remaining bigs. Their rebounding and interior defense are already shy. Camby wasn't always the answer but at least he was on the multiple choice list. You have to reach off the board for Kurt Thomas and Thabeet. Under normal circumstances this would be a lot of fuss for a huge gamble and a second-rounder. The current level of play, the chemistry on the team, and the financial situation apparently made this deal make sense. Or maybe the Blazers are visionaries and just stole themselves two budding lottery-level prodigies. Portland needs some kind of future at point guard and center. The lesson here may be that massive gambles are as close as you can get.
In any case, there's no lasting cost aside from likely losing more games this season. The Blazers weren't retaining Camby anyway. The choice came down to a couple more wins right now versus a gamble on the future plus the cost savings and exception plus a marginal pick. The only serious critique comes in wondering whether another team wouldn't have valued Camby more. One must assume that any better offers had financial strings attached making them impractical.
Next up: The implications of the trades that WEREN'T made.
Stay Tuned for all the news from the Portland Trail Blazers press conference tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Official Press Release on this trade after the jump.
TRAIL BLAZERS ACQUIRE JONNY FLYNN, HASHEEM THABEET AND 2012 SECOND ROUND PICK FROM HOUSTONMarcus Camby traded to Rockets in exchange
PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Jonny Flynn, centerHasheem Thabeet and a second round pick from Houston in exchange for center Marcus Camby, it was announced today.
The second round pick is Minnesota's selection, acquired by the Rockets in a trade last season.
"We're looking forward to what Jonny and Thabeet can bring to our team at two positions we can use help at and we've added an additional asset with the second-round draft pick," said Acting General Manager Chad Buchanan . "We appreciate Marcus's contributions over the past three seasons and we wish him the best for the future."
Flynn, 23, has career averages of 9.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists in three seasons with Minnesota and Houston. The sixth overall selection out of Syracuse in the 2009 NBA Draft, Flynn was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2010.
In 120 games over three seasons with Memphis and Houston, Thabeet, 25, has career averages of 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 10.7 minutes. A native of Tanzania, Thabeet was selected by Memphis with the second overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. At 7-3, he is the tallest player in theNBA.
Camby, 37, is averaging 3.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.40 blocks in 40 games with the Trail Blazers this season. Acquired by the Trail Blazers in a 2010 trade deadline move, Camby holds career averages of 9.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.46 blocked shots in 16 seasons with Toronto, New York, Denver, the L.A. Clippers and Portland.