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Opening Tip: What about Camby?

Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Everything's going great for the Knicks, but it's still hard to ignore this question -- Where's Marcus Camby?

The Knicks are 10-4, tied for the Atlantic Division lead and have one of the best offenses in the NBA.

There's so much going well right now that it's easy to overlook how little they've gotten from Marcus Camby.

Over the summer, the Camby signing was seen as a coup for the Knicks, a transaction that gave them a legitimate backup center to spell Tyson Chandler.

But so far, Camby has made no impact. He missed all of training camp with a calf injury and hasn't been in great shape. And he seems to be caught in a bit of a Catch-22.

He's not in optimal game shape because he hasn't had a chance to play much, and he hasn't had a chance to play much because he's not in game shape.

Camby, 38, also hasn't had many opportunities to work on his conditioning in practice. Due to the Knicks' condensed schedule (nine games in 13 days), they haven't held a full practice in 17 days.

Camby has been the ultimate professional so far, saying all the right things about how the Knicks are playing well and he's OK with his role.

But you have to wonder if he regrets his decision to sign a three-year deal (with two fully guaranteed years) with the Knicks.

Don't forget, Camby was ready to sign with the Heat -- and could have started at center for Miami -- before Mike Woodson, Glen Grunwald and Allan Houston came to his home in Houston to make their plea. They sold him on the idea of coming back to New York to back up Chandler.

"To be honest, I always prided myself on being a Knick," Camby, who played in New York from 1998-2001 and was a key part of the Knicks team that made a run to the 1999 NBA Finals, said shortly after signing. "I remember all of those rivalries and heated skirmishes (with the Heat) we had back in the day, so I couldn't see myself being a part of that team."

Of course, Camby signed with New York before the team convinced Rasheed Wallace to come out of retirement. Wallace has since usurped Camby's rotation minutes.

Wallace has a strong offensive skill set and a strong relationship with Woodson, going back to their days in Detroit, so it makes sense that Woodson would go to Wallace over Camby.

But Woodson went to rookie Chris Copeland ahead of Camby in Milwaukee on Wednesday, which was a head-scratcher to say the least.

It's early in the season, of course, and things can change rapidly with Camby's situation. But what happens to Camby when Amar'e Stoudemire comes back? Does he get buried further on the bench?

If so, could you blame Camby for having second thoughts about choosing the Knicks over the Heat?

The Knicks jersey Camby puts on every night has an insignia that reads, "Once a Knick, always a Knick."

In Camby's case, that phrase rings true. But it certainly doesn't guarantee you a spot in the Knicks' rotation.

Question: Are you concerned about Camby's role on the team? Do you think Woodson should give him more minutes?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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