To Marcus Camby the time and place was finally right.

He would join the Rockets in his adopted hometown. He'd drive the kids to school in the morning mentor the kids in the Rockets' locker room in the afternoon play some defense and grab rebounds at night.

That was then. This time he believes it will work out just the way it was supposed to the first time.

Happy as he was to play home games at home and as the Rockets were to have him after the 2012 trade-deadline deal with the Trail Blazers Camby tore ligaments in his wrist the Rockets slumped late to miss the playoffs and by last summer he no longer fit.

A second chance

Camby a 6-11 center understood when the Rockets remade themselves into the youngest least-experienced team in the NBA. But a year later they have been transformed again changing enough that Camby 39 fits the way he had when he was acquired for those 19 games in 2012.

"Being familiar with the city this being my home and being around the guys and the organization for those … games I was here a couple years ago I felt that I was at the part of my career this was a good opportunity for me" Camby said of his return to the Rockets as a free agent this summer. "Having a chance to come back home and finish my career here was all pluses for me."

His return to the Rockets was something of a leap of faith with the center position crowded by the addition of Dwight Howard and return of Omer Asik and Greg Smith. Camby was marginalized with the Knicks last season when they were overloaded at center behind Tyson Chandler and like last season's Rockets often went to small lineups.

There was a time Camby the second pick of the 1996 draft and four-time All-Defensive Team selection would not have considered signing with a team that had just signed a franchise center. Now after 17 NBA seasons he was happy to play behind Howard and share his experiences with the young Rockets.

"Ten years ago no" Camby said of signing on to a team that just acquired Howard. "Now I just got off the phone with him. He's a great guy. Even before I signed when I got my buyout in Toronto he was one of the guys that was texting and calling me trying to sell me on Houston. I told him he didn't have to.

"I still have a lot to offer to the game not just playing but with my mind and all the battles and all the years I've been through being placed in a situation we have a chance of winning with the talent we have on this team with Dwight and of course James (Harden) and Chandler (Parsons) and all the young guys we have.

Elder statesman

"I think I can share my experiences throughout the league what I've been through personally and what I've seen. Guys always come up to me even guys on different teams try to pick my brain about different things. If you look at our roster it's real young. I'm not taking anything away from those guys but (I'm) someone a little bit older who has been through a lot."

Camby was quick to add he can bring the defense and rebounding the Rockets lacked the last time he joined them and quickly took over as their starting center.

This time Camby said coach Kevin McHale told him there will be games in which he does not play. Camby accepted the diminished role and will view his mentoring responsibilities as a step toward his post-playing career plan to go into coaching.

Camby said he has spoken with McHale and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey about those plans though he added there are "no written agreements." Morey said he is more concerned with Camby as a player than as a future coach but signing Camby does represent a huge shift in Morey's thinking.