Unfortunately, I have no time to write a proper post on this, and probably won't until tomorrow. Sorry about that. But I'll dash off as much as I can before I have to run.
First of all, if you want to catch up on how the story evolved, you can do what I did and head over to Ben's late night post at Blazers Edge. He includes the various updates from overnight in the on-again off-again trade. Now that the trade is official, in the end the trade is pretty much exactly what it was originally reported to be, at least in terms of the bodies involved - Marcus Camby for Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw.
And three million dollars.
It has been reported that Marcus is not happy about the trade. Basically, it would seem that Marcus doesn't like change a whole lot - he was settled in Denver, and wasn't happy when he was traded to LA. Now that he's settled in LA, he doesn't want to go to Portland. If you want to be wildly optimistic, I'll point out that this trade likely has little bearing, at least as far as contractual obligations, on whether Marcus Camby could be a Clipper next season. In order to pursue a major free agent signing (which it would seem the Clippers are going to do), they would have had to renounce their Bird rights to Marcus this summer anyway. You can't sign a free agent with cap space, and then use your Bird exception to go over the cap - it doesn't work that way. So if the Clippers are going to be under the cap, they're in exactly the same situation regarding Camby and next season as they were before - if they want to sign him, they have to do it under their cap space. So if Marcus really likes his house and his teammates, then he's only got to wait out the end of the season and a likely first round loss by the Blazers before he's right back in LA. Of course, that's not likely to happen, but this trade didn't change much (unless he's pissed off at management about it).
Likewise, both Blake and Outlaw will likely be renounced this summer when their deals are up, and are therefore unlikely to be Clippers for more than two months. So the idea that Steve Blake somehow makes Baron Davis expendable is pretty debatable. He's a free agent, and the Clippers are angling to be under the cap - you don't get under the cap in order to re-sign your own free agents.
Outlaw is a nice player - arguably better than either Al Thornton or Rasual Butler. Unfortunately, he hasn't played since November when he underwent foot surgery. I don't have any information about his potential return, though as I understand it he is supposed to be back at some point this season. When he was first hurt, it was estimated he'd be out anywhere from 3 months (that would be now) to 5 months (that would be after the season is over). Obviously the Clippers expect him to play some this season, or they wouldn't have waived Ricky Davis to make room for him on the roster. Here's an aside on Outlaw - this is his seventh season in the league, four more than Thornton, and he's almost a year younger than Al.
My issue with this trade is that it does nothing from a basketball standpoint for the team. Camby's expiring for Blake/Outlaw expiring. Maddeningly, Portland actually has some assets - I can only assume the Clippers were not interested in Petteri Kopenen or Joel Freeland. Instead, the Clippers went for the cold, hard, Microsoft cash - the maximum $3M allowed in a trade.
The Clippers are very close to having enough cap space to make a full maximum offer to LeBron James or another free agent this summer. The most straightforward way for them to get there would be for them to get rid of either Sebastian Telfair or Al Thornton, or possibly both. They don't have to do that by the trade deadline of course - they could make a deal between the end of the season and the start of free agency in July. But Camby was a terrific trade asset, and one might have thought that packaging him with another contract was the easiest way to accomplish the immediate goal of clearing more cap space.
is it possible that the extra Paul Allen case will help them accomplish the goal? Maybe. Telfair has an option for next season, and it is possible that they could work a buy out wherein he agrees to NOT exercise that option. But you can't just pay Al Thornton to go away - the money still counts against the cap. I'll try to get clarification on Telfair's situation, but I assume that he could be paid to opt out next year. So that would help.
In the end though, there is no long term benefit for the fans. Camby will be up the coast helping the Blazers make a playoff run, Outlaw will mostly be sitting next to Blake Griffin in street clothes, Steve Blake will be playing back up point for a couple of months before signing somewhere else. No picks. No prospects. Just extra playing time for DeAndre Jordan and the number 23 jersey for Blake Griffin (sorry about that, all of you who bought 32).
Call me greedy, but I wanted more. It didn't see unreasonable at the time.