Posted by: Wilson | July 1, 2008

Baron Davis Opts out!!

Homecoming? Likely

In an interesting turn of events, right before free agency was set to begin, Baron Davis opted out of the final year of his contract and left 17.8 mill on the table. He probably left the most money he is ever going to get in one year again. There are several reasons he did this.

1) He wants long-term security, albeit at a price

2) He wants to play for a contender, for pennys

3) He is orchestrating a sign-and-trade, to a contender

While it is unlikely that Baron will join the Lakers, his opting out definitely changes the landscape of the Pacific Davision. Sacramento is looking for a point guard, and they will probably be racing to sign either Gilbert Arenas or Baron Davis. The Clippers also need a true point guard since they already have a Gilbert Arenas clone in Eric Gordon. They will also look to sign Baron and team him with Elton Brand. Also, the Warriors may now make a move to sign Gilbert Arenas away from the Wizards! The complexion and talent of the Pacific teams will drastically change in the next week or so.

As for the points above, Davis is probably looking at point number 1. He needs the long-term security, especially since the Warriors already have a future point guard in Monta Ellis. The Lakers prospects in acquiring Davis via sign-and-trade do not look very promising. Lamar could lock down their PF slot, but thats all the Lakers could offer. Also, they just drafted a Lamar Odom type guy in Anthony Randolph. Rather, an offer from the Pistons of Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince would be a more likely scenario.

Playing for a contender? He will probably not take the mid-level exception to play for a contender, but if he does, the Lakers could be the first in line. Baron is from LA and played his college ball in Westwood. But, this could also make the Clippers one of his prime destinations, since he would get paid more. Baron has shown interest in winning a Larry O’brien but he probably will not strive to do so just yet in his career. If he does open himself up to the mid-level, every championship caliber team will be at his feet, except Utah and New Orleans.

Now, about his game. Even if the Lakers could inexplicably acquire Baron, do we really need him? Well, first and foremost, he is a scoring point guard. As we saw with the addition of Pau Gasol last season, the Lakers have no problem with scoring. Also, Baron needs more possessions than Gasol to accrue his offensive numbers. And that might be a good thing, since Ariza would likely be fifth banana. Baron is also a great passer. Adding him to an already great passing team would only increase this strength. His defensive tendencies are similar to Derek Fisher’s, so not too shabby in that department. One thing that would help the Lakers is his ability to create his own shot. Baron can take it strong to the hoop, or step back and hit. His addition would further prevent double teams on Kobe. As for his age, he turns 29 this year, any contract would have him for at least 4 or 5 seasons. John Hollinger notes that big guards who can shoot and pass well tend to age nicely. Baron definitely fits all three bills so he should be fine for the duration of his contract, bringing him well into his thirties. However, he does have some injury history.

In all likelihood, we will see Baron fairly often in his hometown red, white and blue.

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