We all have, in our memories and blacked-out non-memories and bookshelves and sometimes tattooed somewhere on our persons, reminders of poor life choices made between the ages of 18 and 22. I happened to be in college in Southern California during that period, and while I managed to avoid getting any ill-advised body art and ducked the avoided some of the era’s more serious sartorial/pharmaceutical pitfalls, I did decide to adopt the Los Angeles Clippers as my other NBA team. Looking back, the choice reflects nothing but pure Nets-fan masochism (and contrarian college-kid disdain for my Lakers-fan campus) on my part, as those very terrible Clippers teams weren’t even likable — they were reliant on a smoked-out Maurice Taylor and paunchy Rodney Rogers for any sort of offense, and the roster was a collection of surly, uninterested D-League types unfortunate enough to play before the D-League actually existed. Tyrone Nesby was one of my favorite players at the time. It was rough.
While I’ve essentially quit the Nets — I don’t know what the last insult was (actually, I do), but the franchise’s disdainful, abusive relationship with my home state is not something I want to be a part of any more — I do like watching the Clips play. Even without Blake Griffin, they looked kind of sparky this year for a while, before abruptly (and quite justifiably) quitting on Coach Mike Dunleavy, who in turn quit himself and focused on being GM Mike Dunleavy. Dysfunction for dysfunction, the Clips are probably still as bad an organization as the NBA has to offer, although both New York-area teams are close. It’s easy to forget that, given the talent on the roster and the ace bloggers writing about them the fact that the team can look pretty great at times. But it’s impossible to forget that dysfunction, because the organization keeps finding new ways to remind everyone of it. The most recent reminder is the apparently now-official trade of Marcus Camby (above) — the NBA’s second-leading rebounder at 12.1 RPG, owner of a valuable expiring deal and pretty clearly the Clips’ best player right now — to the Portland Trail Blazers for a pair of expiring deals attached to Blazers reserves (injured forward Travis Outlaw and guard Steve Blake), as well as $3 million in cash.
At Yahoo, Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski paint a depressing, if weirdly detailed and colorful picture of Camby’s response to the deal — told of the trade by his agent (not the Clips, naturally), a distraught Camby storms out of the restaurant in which he was eating, without saying goodbye to his teammates. “All the guys are upset because our best defensive player got traded basically for a backup point guard and money,” one Clip told Spears. “He is not believed to have finished his meal,” Spears writes. It’s a bummer, even if you’ve made the very rational and intelligent decision not to be a Clippers fan.
Elsewhere at Yahoo, Kelly Dwyer nicely nails both the micro- and macro-scale bummeries of the trade:
It makes no sense, of course, which is why it makes complete and total sense. For all the swaying toward orthodoxy that we’ve seen from L.A. over the last few years ” signing outright free agents like Cuttino Mobley(notes), Baron Davis(notes) and Tim Thomas(notes), matching contract offers on their own free agents, staying somewhat competitive, making the playoffs, albeit all the way back when Donald Rumsfeld still had a public gig ” the Clippers are still the Clippers. They’re still a punchline at 11:42, no matter the host.
And this trade is pure Clippers madness, even before the news hit about the tactless way that Camby was informed…
We knew Camby was gone as soon as Dunleavy retired to the front office. But for this? No prospects, no draft picks, the same amount of expiring money that Camby was going to provide had he stayed on? Just a little cash thrown Sterling’s way? It’s pathetic. It’s so damn Clipper-y. I hate that. You should, too.
And it’s only Dunleavy looking to save his gig. Essentially trading for his potential 2010-11 salary from Portland owner Paul Allen and dropping it in Sterling’s lap. So stupefyingly transparent, something that could only happen in this league, and to this team.