Marcus Camby — Center of attention

Marcus Camby pointed to several different faces in the crowd, then gave Kaleb Canales a massive hug in front of the Blazers’ bench. Just a minute earlier, when he was introduced as a member of the Houston Rockets, the Rose Garden crowd gave a big cheer.

In the two years Camby was in this town, he was the most effective center the Blazers had. The fans appreciated it. And he appreciated them.

“It’s good to back in this city,” Camby said before the game. “I always felt this was a place where I could finish my career.”

Camby was traded to the Rockets just before the deadline last month in exchange for Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round pick. While in Portland, the 38-year-old’s rebounding totals — especially rebounds per minute — were high even if his field-goal percentage was not.

Camby described this season with the Blazers as “a roller coaster” that “was definitely difficult for everyone” and that it was “unfortunate how it played out” in terms of Nate McMillan being fired.

However, he was excited about the opportunity afforded to Canales, calling the 34-year-old “one of my favorite guys in the whole wide world.”

“He has so much passion for basketball,” Camby said of Canales. “He has a lot to give to the game.”

Camby also developed a tight bond with former Blazer Armon Johnson, a second-year guard who was waived in February. Just before the game, Camby was informed that the Nets had signed Johnson to a 10-day contract.

In response, Camby pumped his fist and exclaimed “Yesssss!”

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