Baron Davis opted out tonight, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
And to think we were all worried about a trade exception the Warriors never had any intention of using.
It all seemed so simple before. The Warriors would re-sign Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins to play with Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and a slew of slashers and three-point shooters.
Now everything’s up in the air.
Davis and his agent apparently think someone’s going to want to pay him, and that’s possible. But I doubt it will be the Warriors.
The Warriors are probably happy. Every move they’ve made over the past two years has been with an eye on the post-Baron era, and Davis just surprisingly left a guaranteed $17.8 million for one year of basketball on the table in hopes for his last big contract.
Wondering why Baron decided to opt out is kind of pointless unless you actually know the man personally. Maybe it was because Baron and Nellie had a marriage that could at best be labeled as “shaky” at the end of the year, perhaps Davis had his feelings hurt during the contract negotiations over the past couple weeks, or maybe all the New York Knick fans screaming for Baron to come to their team this past week might have had an effect when Davis was playing a pickup celebrity soccer match in New York last week with Steve Nash and Thierry Henry.
Plus, Elton Brand dropped his own bomb just hours earlier when he similarly opted out of his last year with the Clippers. Could it be possible that Davis and Brand have a handshake deal that they’ll do anything to work out a sign and trade where the two almost-superstars swap teams? Davis would love to be in L.A. so he can be hone his movie-producing game and hob-knob with Jessica Alba and her new infant daughter, and Brand would have to love escaping the NBA’s most cursed franchise.
Or perhaps the Warriors are throwing a party in Oakland right now, celebrating the opportunity to bring back the one that got away — Gilbert Arenas. Of course, having Arenas and Ellis on the same team seems superfluous, but so did drafting Anthony Randolph when Brandan Wright played fewer minutes than Austin Croshere last year.
For the Warriors, the only sure thing next year is Thunder. The only players under contract for next year who averaged over ten minutes per game last season are Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington (who the Warriors wouldn’t mind dealing) and C.J. Watson.
One thing that is obvious in an offseason that just got murkier than ever: the perception of Warriors players in other parts of the country is significantly different than the consensus around here. Chad Ford ranked the best available free agents today. He placed Biedrins above Ellis (apparently Ford lives in a world where foul trouble doesn’t exist) in the list of restricted free agents — Biedrins No. 6 and Ellis No. 7 (both behind Luol Deng, which I guess makes sense if you stopped watching basketball in May of ’07).
But Ford really went off the deep end when he ranked Mickael Pietrus ninth out of all the unrestricted free agents available. Here’s his description of Pietrus, which shouldn’t be surprising since Ford loved Pietrus before he was drafted and is a famous lover of European players (evidenced by his infamous unwavering support of Darko Milicic):
“No one is sure why the Warriors didn’t play Pietrus more. He’s one of the most athletic defenders in the league and he’s a solid 3-point shooter. Some team will pick him up and try to use him in a Bruce Bowen-type role.”
Uh, here’s why he didn’t play more: he openly bitched about wanting a trade and didn’t even try until the trade deadline passed and he realized he had half a season to play for a new contract, he played defense only when he wanted to, and he negated his positive three-point shooting from the corner by stepping out of bounds about 20 times last year, usually because he was so intent on shooting a three from the corner.
I wish I could ask Chad Ford … does being bilingual improve a players length, motor or upside?