In not-exactly-hot-of-the-presses news, the Nuggets last week traded Marcus Camby, their best off-ball defender, best rebounder, and 2006 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, to the L.A. Clippers, in return for two prospects, and a protected first-round pick.
No, wait, that’s not right at all! Instead, the ever-savvy Nugz managed to extract from the Clippers a promise to let them switch draft picks, in the event that the Clips have a better pick than the Nuggets do. In 2010. In the second round.
Yes, that’s right. One of the top defensive players in the league, traded for the right to move up in the second round of the NBA draft 2 years from now!
Look, I get it that the Nuggets went over the salary cap when they traded for Iverson, and are subject to the luxury tax, and had to clear some cap space. I also get that the team, as currently constituted, was not competitive in the Western Conference, and so some changes had to be made. I even understand that, when you take risks, and they don’t work out, you end up suffering for those mistakes before you can recover from them.
But come on – one of the major jobs of a professional franchise is to manage the hopes and dreams of its fans. Part of the joy of sports is how, at the start of every season, the slate is wiped clean, everyone starts with zero wins, and an equal opportunity to win the championship. When you trade a great player, like a Kevin Garnett, or an Allen Iverson, you may recognize that you’re not going to get equal value back, but you have to get something! Otherwise, you’re just sending up the white flag.
If the Nuggets had managed to score an outright draft pick or two, or, even better, a couple young, hungry prospects, I would have been fine with the trade. As it stands, I am rescinding any even partial fanhood that I have bestowed on them since arriving in Colorado. That’s one messed-up franchise….