More Daryl Morey Showing Off, Rockets Bring Back Marcus Camby

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Photo by Daniel Kramer
Two years ago, with the curtain falling on the Rick Adelman Era here in Houston, the Rockets were closing out a 2010-11 NBA season where Chuck Hayes -- all six-foot-six (listed) of him -- had started 63 games for them at the center position.

Now, we all love Chuck Hayes. We all love Chuck Hayes so much that his first name should be "We All Love" because I feel like we preface every evaluation that includes Hayes's shortcomings with that caveat. We love him because of his basketball IQ, because of his toughness, because of his grit, because of his ultra-fucked up free throw shooting motion.

It's established. We all love Chuck Hayes.

But he's Chuck Hayes, and if he's your starting center, you can make vacation plans for late April. So desperate was the Chuck Hayes Era at center that Samuel Dalembert felt like Bill Russell when he signed here the following season.

Now, here we sit in July 2013, and in about a year's time, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has assembled an embarrassment of riches at the center position, with Dwight Howard (the best in the game) and Omer Asik (a top 10-12 center) as his backup.

And on Sunday, Morey tossed a few more gold coins on the "big man" treasure pile with the signing of veteran center, former Rocket and Pearland resident Marcus Camby as a seven-foot-tall insurance policy.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported the signing on Sunday afternoon:

Camby chose to sign with the Rockets as a free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision said, to play for team far more prepared to compete than the team he left as a free agent last summer. A longtime resident of Pearland, Camby also considered the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.

Camby will sign a veteran's minimum, worth $1.4 million next season.

Two seasons ago, Camby came to the Rockets near the trade deadline when they struck out on their first attempt at making Howard a Rocket, back when Dwight was with the Orlando Magic. Camby quickly teamed with Dalembert to give the team a decent rotation at center and a formidable inside presence defensively, to the extent that you could argue that Camby was the team's most important player at times during his brief stretch as a Rocket (which, let's be honest, spoke as much to the roster doldrums of that group as it did to Camby's assets).

During the 2012 offseason, the Rockets moved Camby to the New York Knicks, a team he had maybe his best years with in the late '90s, in a sign-and-trade, and while Morey's complete rebuild of the Rockets' center position from cardboard shanty to opulent mansion in just two seasons is the greatest feat we will discuss in this post, the details of the Camby trade a year or so ago make that part of this post the funniest.



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