--The Clippers traded for Marcus Camby from the Denver Nuggets, only giving up a second-round draft pick. Acquiring a big man so soon after Elton Brand left certainly makes a statement. They're not giving up so easily. Donald Sterling has proven recently that he is willing to spend money on this franchise, and Camby will cost the Clippers $20 million over the next two years.
Camby has earned a reputation as a defensive player, a shot-blocking specialist who can rebound and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2006-07. Most teams would love to have a guy like him. But Camby is also 34 years old, and it remains to be seen how much basketball he has left in him. He may have been the only Nugget who played defense, but I don't recall him being too effective in slowing down Pau Gasol in the first round of the playoffs. I also wonder how he'll fit in with Chris Kaman, since both guys basically play the same position, but I guess it's possible to slide Camby over to the power forward position.
--The LA Kings have hired a new coach in Terry Murray, the brother of former Ducks coach Bryan Murray. Terry is a fairly accomplished NHL coach having won with Washington, Philadelphia, and Florida. He took the Flyers to the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, but was fired after that season.
I know some Flyers fans who criticized Murray during his stint in Philadelphia for his goaltender rotation of Ron Hextall and Garth Snow, and for his "choking situation" comments after the team lost Game 3 of the Finals that year. But the fact is, Murray is a winner, and I don't know many sane Flyer fans. He figures to face much less scrutiny in Los Angeles.
The real question is if Murray is the right person to develop the Kings' good young players. Marc Crawford was an accomplished coach who did work not out in LA. We'll see if Murray can fill that role better.
--Russell Martin played extremely well in the All-Star Game last Tuesday night, and won constant praise from Tim McCarver. Clint Hurdle seemed so impressed by Martin's gritty defensive play and the bunt that he selflessly laid down, that he didn't bring in Brian McCann until the 15th inning. I know the Dodgers would like to sign Martin to a long-term contract, and I know Martin has been reluctant to have his arbitration years bought out, but the Dodgers should recognize they have a star and do whatever they can to lock him up. In this city of stars, Martin should be the face of the Dodgers.