Interview: Blazers’ Camby speaks with the media (with video)

Portland Trail Blazers center Marcus Camby spoke with the media Tuesday evening prior to the Blazers’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden.

Camby’s opening remarks:

First of all, I’d like to say that I’m happy to be here. I think this is a great situation for myself, coming into an organization — a first-class organization who really looks after their players and really takes care of their own. I’m happy to be playing alongside tremendous athletes, especially Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Miller — who I had the opportunity to play (with) a couple years in Denver — and also Juwan Howard, a crafty veteran, who I also had a chance to play with one year in Denver. With me coming in here, I just hope I can bring my knowledge of the game; a spirit; a great winning attitude — and just try to blend in with this team, as these final 27 games remains upon us, hopefully we can make that playoff push, which we all definitely want and need. Once again, I want to say thank you for having me. I’m really, really excited to be here, and I’m excited about starting my next chapter in my career here.

On his initial reaction to being traded and how it has evolved:

Well, none of those comments really came from me. I don’t think you heard any quotes from me saying anything about that. It was definitely shocking, with us actually being in Portland and being at a sponsored dinner last night in Portland, and having the news broke to me in Portland at that dinner, initially it was kind of shocking. I only brought one pair of clothes for change. (Laughs) And so it’s been a real, real rough 24 hours for me. But I’m also excited. Having the chance to go to the practice facility; going down to the basketball (operations) here today and meeting all the different people. Everyone seems to be enthusiastic about it, and so am I.

On being revitalized by joining a playoff-ready team:

Yeah, it’s been two years since I was in a playoff push, and that was when I was in Denver. Being in L.A., we had great players, but we were never healthy. And this year, once we lost Blake Griffin — well, once they lost Blake Griffin (laughs) — and once they traded me, I felt they pretty much gave up on the season. They actually put me in a position where I can go on to the playoffs. So, I have no hard feelings toward the Clippers. I will never burn any bridges. But this is where I’m at right now. I’m excited about it. I’m happy to get started. I honestly wish I was playing tonight, but I don’t think that I can play tonight. So, I’m definitely looking forward to the game on Friday.

On what he brings to the Blazers:

Now, they’ve just been missing a lot of bigs. With Greg (Oden) being down and Joel (Przybilla) being down has forced a guy like Juwan Howard to play the 5 position a lot. So, hopefully I can bring my knowledge and my skills and definitely my defensive mindset to a ballclub where we have a lot of capable offensive guys out there on the court, with Brandon and LaMarcus and Martell (Webster) can really shoot the basketball. And the old cliche is defense wins championships, so I’m definitely going to try to bring my hardhat each night.

On his impression of the Blazers before being traded:

The first thing that I found out is the great fanbase that they here. I mean, from my 14 years coming in as the opposition, I always marveled at how the fans got behind the team and how the whole city really rallied around the team, with the Trail Blazers being the only main attraction here in town. Even walking around today in the hotel, even the bell captains and everybody was like, ‘Ah, welcome to Portland. We’re so glad to have you,’ and stuff like that. So, it really, really, really hit home; really made me feel comfortable.

On his relationship with assistant coach Bill Bayno:

Quite a few. I’d say about 16, 17, 18 years. (Laughs) Billy actually started recruiting me my freshman year in high school, and he was one of the main reasons why I went to the University of Massachusetts, along with coach (John) Calipari. I mean, even to this day, he’s like my Dad, per se. We have that father-son relationship. He’s been through some things, and I’ve been through some things. And we’ve both been there for each other. So, I’m also happy about being reunited with him.

On playing with Miller in Denver:

Playoffs after playoffs. I think once we got him, it really got us over that hump. I mean, he’s a guy if you talk to him, he probably won’t say two words. But he just goes out there and lets his play do the talking for him. Any big guy would love to play with a guy like Andre Miller, because he’s so unselfish.

Note: Entry will be updated.

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