Baron Davis Throws Himself Into the Market
Well this is unexpected. This morning, some were lamenting the lazy NBA free agent session ahead. Tonight, Golden State talisman Baron Davis becomes the second unexpected star to opt out of a high-dollar contract to taste freedom, reports Geoff Lepper of the Contra Costa Times and Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
That Davis would eventually forgo his $17.6 million guarantee for a ride on the open market had been more joke than realistic proposition since Boom first threatened the ploy last fall. Davis had sought a massive extension from the Warriors, didn't get it, and said he'd walk. Baron has backed of those assertions in the months since as it became clear no one would be able to pay the guy this summer.
Nothing has changed -- Philadelphia could make a play, but with a hole at the four and Brand joining Josh Smith on the market, you'd imagine Ed Stefanski will keep it locked on Andre Miller. Memphis has 14 point guards under contract, and Baron probably won't want to go to a terrible team and share a backcourt with O.J. Mayo.
But the Clippers ... how 'bout Davis going home to L.A.? The Clippers renounced the rights to Shaun Livingston, and have only Brevin Knight to their name. Corey Maggette and Brand have opted out -- barring sign-and-trades and assuming teams sign the sought-after players soon, L.A. can sign Davis outright to a deal beginning at $17.2 million (his new max) per year. Teased out to five years and including the standard 8% annual raise, the deal would be something like five years, $99 million.
Before we delve too deeply into the possibilities, though, let's keep this particular decision by Davis in our heads. Why did he do it? Did his agent catch word Brand was gone, opening up the Clippers as a serious possibility? Was there any fire behind the smoke surrounding the relationship between Boom and returning coach Don Nelson? Is Baron just feeling the karma? Is he just pissed about the "insulting" offers? Knowing what lead to this might help us figure out what happens next. (Or we could just wait and see what happens next, but what fun is that?!)