Thanks to Brian Windhorst for shining a light on why the “Cavs to amnesty Baron Davis” rumor – though lacking a fair amount of competitive basketball sense – refuses to go away.
Apparently, it’s Davis himself who has continued to fan the flames, hoping to find his way off the Cavaliers roster and onto another one more … what’s that word … oh, yeah “good.”
This makes sense if you’re Beardly because, even though this year’s Cavs team will not be as bad as last year’s (presumably), you (Beardly) are probably not going to be around by the time this thing fully turns itself around. The team has already drafted its point guard of the future (oh, he of 11 NCAA games) and you are still (arguably) a top-10 (to 15) point guard when you’re healthy, so you can imagine that it doesn’t look to too appealing to spend your last two years in your relative-prime (Beardly is only 32 – or, to put it another way, about 17 years younger than Steve Nash) to be the mentor to a 19-year old rookie and the team’s de facto 2 guard. We’re seeing the same thing from the recently amnestied Chauncey Billups, as he’s telling teams to back off the waiver wire and let him become a free agent.
The difference is that Chauncey has already been waived – and was a casualty of the amnesty clause so that the Knicks could get far enough under the cap to sign Tyson Chandler. The Cavs, in regard to Baron Davis, have no such Tyson Chandler on the radar. Were they to amnesty Baron Davis, seemingly, it would be so that he doesn’t become disgruntled and a bad influence on the team’s young players. That is how much the Cavs seem to fear Disgruntled Baron – they would rather pay him the nearly $29 million remaining on his contract (minus whatever he would get paid by the team that picks him up) to not bring that bad attitude (which, it should be noted, we have never actually seen from Baron since coming to Cleveland last year, but that is as part of the BD myth as the beard and the belly).
Part of me gets that. But that part is not as large as the one that thinks that caving (that’s right, I said it – boom!) to Beardly’s wish to play elsewhere is not good for the Cavs because of (to steal a Stern-ism) “basketball reasons.”
How can you part with a top-10 (or 15) point guard and get nothing in return except for the ability to pay him to help another team win games. What other team, you ask?
The Lakers were the talk several weeks ago, but it looks like they’ll be getting a certain veto-inspring star after all. The Knicks just signed Mike Bibby and (if I understand how the amnesty waiver system works – and I admittedly DO NOT KNOW how the amnesty waiver system works) won’t have the money or room for Beardly. You could see him having some value for the Celtics, Thunder and Grizzlies as a back-up. And, I repeat, he could still start for over half the teams in the league (give or take a quarter of the teams in the league).
So, no perfect fit, right? I’m not … I’m not forgetting anyone, am I? There’s no team out there who could use another player with some star-level talent to help round out a team with an abundance of star-level talent? Oh, yeah … them. Clearly, Dan Gilbert wants no part in paying Beardly to increase the Miami Heat’s chances of winning a championship. Gilbert would rather, I’m guessing, eat his own face. Or maybe he’s just hoping to drive Baron to pout and gain a ton of weight before waiving him hoping that he’ll be in Miami for exactly 48-hours before getting tired by all of the “Wait, which one is Eddy Curry?” comments. Maybe…
If I were Chris Grant, I think I’d approach Beardly in a way probably very similar to the way Chris Grant has already approached Beardly: “Hey, Baron, we understand that you want to play for a winner. You helped yourself by coming in last year and playing well and helping the team win some games. If you keep with us and keep that up, we will find a contending team to take you on either at the deadline this year or next year.” Clearly, that’s not what Beardly wants to hear – since it clouds what would otherwise be a very easy solution. But Grant (and Gilbert) must have the guts to put up with Davis until they are able to acquire more assets (or even just asset) in parting with him. We still don’t have much value on this franchise. Baron Davis has value. The Cavaliers must figure out how to maximize that value.