The Toronto Raptors bought out Marcus Camby, who never really wanted to be there anyway. Now the 39-year-old center is a free agent… again. And the Miami Heat is interested… again.
Source told me Miami, Houston, Chicago and LAC are after Camby. Meetings will be after buyout. #Knicks can’t sign b/c of CBA trade rules.
— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 18, 2013
The Heat was interested in Camby last summer too but, after the team signed Ray Allen, didn’t have the cap space available to sign Camby. At the time, he was looking for the mid-level exception money. But after a disappointing season in New York when he hardly played, the market will not be as high on him.
Also, due to his buyout, he will be making nearly $8 million regardless. He’d probably be willing to take less to play while collecting that money over the next two years.
But interest doesn’t always lead to an offer. Would Camby fit as the Heat embrace small ball? Camby is a solid defender in the paint and has a good midrange jumper, so from that standpoint, he fits. But can he be the big man they need, at 39, who can battle with the biggest bigs when Chris Bosh can’t?
The Heat is still in the race for Greg Oden and would not sign both Camby and Oden. Also, Jarvis Varnando has played well in summer league. The team could opt to retain him if it isn’t comfortable with Oden (returning from injury) or Camby (really, really old).
For some Heat fans, signing Camby could be reminiscent of the team resigning Alonzo Mourning back in 2005 to play behind Shaq. Zo brought energy off the bench and even played next to Shaq at times. Camby’s veteran presence could bring much of the same, and could even replace Juwan Howard as the resident old guy.
Zo was arguably redundant of Shaq — a big body who defended the rim extremely well. That was useful when Shaq needed rest. Camby could be redundant of Bosh in his way to cover space and hit the midrange shot. And when Bosh needs rest from battling bigger centers, Camby’s presence (a more consistent presence than Chris Andersen) could be useful.
It’s unlikely the Heat would be willing to use its MLE on Camby after parting with Miller so it wouldn’t have to pay the luxury-tax bill on his salary. If the team does use its MLE, then it will be on someone they feel can contribute to the team in the future and probably a wing player.
But if Camby is willing to sign to a contender for the veteran minimum while collecting his buyout cash, then the Heat remain a strong contender for his services.