Blazers have their own questions to answer

Status of Roy, Camby unknown for tonight’s game against Lakers

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

Published:

 

TUALATIN, Ore. — Trade questions, injury questions, playoff questions — all were swirling at the Blazers’ practice facility Tuesday.

The thematic answer? We’ll tell you later.

Inquiry No. 1 pertained to whether Brandon Roy or Marcus Camby would start tonight against the Lakers.

Roy has missed Portland’s past 30 games with knee injuries but has been practicing for most of February. Camby endured a partial tear in his meniscus in the middle of last month and has not played since.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Tuesday that each went through the most strenuous workouts they’ve had since their respective surgeries, but no decision has yet been made in terms of whether they’ll play tonight.

“Tomorrow, we’ll see how they feel,” McMillan said from practice. “They’ve been good. They’ve been slowly working themselves back into practice as far as the time on the floor. They haven’t had any problems, no swelling or anything like that.”

Roy spent most of the practice with the second unit and said he didn’t feel like he was favoring either knee. He added that he and McMillan will see how he’s feeling today, and decide whether he’ll play or try again Friday vs. the Nuggets.

As for Camby? Well, the suspense seems to lay less with whether he’ll play this week, and more with whether he’ll ever play in a Blazers uniform again. Yahoo! Sports basketball writer Marc Spears tweeted Tuesday that the Blazers are expecting to move both Camby and Andre Miller.

Last April, Camby signed a two-year, $21 million extension with the Blazers, figuring that Portland is the city where he and his family would end up.

So now to hear his name come up in all these rumors?

“I love it here. If I would have known that I’d be in this situation, I wouldn’t have signed my extension last year,” Camby said. “It’s kind of funny how last year they were courting me to stay — brought my wife out here, set her up to go the spa, all this great stuff and trying to woo us to stay here. That’s what I took it as. They really wanted to me be here.”

That quote may make Camby seem more bitter than he is.

He acknowledged that in the NBA, “it’s always business,” and chuckled as he added that “every year I’ve been in the league, my name’s been mentioned. Everybody wants me.”

As far as rumors that he’ll contemplate retirement if traded?

“Did you hear that from me?” Camby said to a reporter. “You asked me that question two months ago. I danced around it then and I’ll dance around it now.”

There is one major trade rumor that is no longer an “if.” Carmelo Anthony joins Amar’e Stoudemire as a New York Knick and the entire league is speculating as to what this may mean.

McMillan’s thoughts?

“It’s like LeBron. I’m wondering if the media is going to kill him, if there will be a big circus,” he said.

But Nate, it’s gotta be nice having one fewer superstar to worry about as you push to make the playoffs, right?

“Well, it’s going to be a different team,” McMillan said of the Nuggets. “You don’t know exactly if Denver’s done in trying to rebuild their team. They’re going to have some talented players.”

As far as how the trade deadline may affect his own team, McMillan said he talked with his players and explained that there’s nothing the Blazers are doing that the other 29 teams in the league aren’t — talking.

“What you try and do in situations like this is not only maintain but get better. That’s what organizations do,” McMillan said. “We’ll be happy when it’s come and gone.”

Then again, there was one Blazers with which McMillan didn’t speak in person Tuesday. That would be Wesley Matthews.

The shooting guard’s flight from Wisconsin was delayed due to inclement weather and he was not able to attend practice.

McMillan said Matthews still will have to pay the mandatory fine for missing practice, but will not lose his starting spot vs. the Lakers tonight.

Oh yeah ... the Lakers

TODAY'S GAME

Lakers vs. Blazers, 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Garden

TV: Channel 8

Radio: 95.5 FM

Probable Starters

Blazers (32-24)

Position/player Ht. Avg.

F Nicolas Batum 6-8 11.8

F LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 22.3

C Dante Cunningham 6-8 5.1

G Wesley Matthews 6-5 16.5

G Andre Miller 6-2 13.2

Lakers (39-19)

Position/player Ht. Avg.

F Ron Artest 6-7 7.9

F Pau Gasol 7-0 18.7

C Andrew Bynum 7-0 11.2

G Kobe Bryant 6-6 25.0

G Derek Fisher 6-1 6.7

It’s not often the two-time defending world champions coming to town becomes a secondary topic of conversation, but that was the case to a certain extent Tuesday.

Portland and L.A. Haven’t met since November, when the Lakers crushed the Blazers, 121-96, at Staples Center. The champs feature two All-Stars in Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and unparalleled length when you throw in Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

Nevertheless, they’re also in the midst of a three-game losing streak and lost to the Cavaliers just before the All-Star break.

Will this be easier for the Blazers than people think?

“A few people want to write them off, but they smashed us the last time we played them,” McMillan said. “(They have) pretty much the same talent. … Those teams like that, the defending champs — everyone will be measured in the playoffs. They want to win as many games as possible, but get through the season. They’ve been there before.”