Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Lakers, Knicks or Bobcats for Baron?
By Marc Stein
Updating Monday's package on the amnesty clause and the presumptions in Cleveland that Baron Davis might go to Miami to team up with LeBron James if the Cavs make him a free agent:
Sources with knowledge of Davis' thinking told ESPN.com on Tuesday that Miami would not be at the top of Davis' list of potential free-agent destinations if the Cavs indeed decide to set him free.
Davis' hometown Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, sources say, are the two teams he's always dreamed of playing for.
Davis also still has a good relationship with the Charlotte community, Bobcats coach Paul Silas and Bobcats assistant coach Stephen Silas, all of which would likewise make the Bobcats an option if Michael Jordan is interested.
Rougly $27 million of the nearly $30 million left on Davis' contract is guaranteed. The Cavs would still have to pay Davis all that money if they send him away, but the amnesty clause coming in the next collective bargaining agreement -- unlike the 2005 version -- will give teams salary-cap relief as well as tax relief on a player released via amnesty.
ESPN.com reported Monday that teams would be able to erase 75 percent of the value of a player's contract shed via amnesty. The New York Times, though, reported Tuesday that teams will receive 100 percent of the salary-cap value on amnesty players.
Sources stress that the Cavs, weighing all of the above, are still deciding which way to go with Davis. They could elect to keep him for one more season and try to play him alongside No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving, based on the idea that they needn't waive him immediately because they can't get far below the salary cap without Davis until the summer of 2012 anyway. Yet there's also some sentiment within the organization to hand the keys of the franchise to Irving right away by releasing Davis before the new season starts, which would also ensure that there's no logjam in the backcourt.
The well-regarded Ramon Sessions is also on the books in Cleveland for two more seasons at a cap-friendly salary and Daniel Gibson is coming off his best season. Sources say that the Cavs, furthermore, regard re-signing Anthony Parker as a priority, with Parker earmarked to play a lot of shooting guard to free up minutes at small forward for the newly acquired Omri Casspi.
Cleveland, remember, took on Davis' contract in a trade-deadline deal for Mo Williams in February because of the Clippers' willingness to include their first overall pick in the June draft unprotected. That pick became Irving.
"[I'm] really looking forward to playing with, and mentoring, Kyrie," Davis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer last month. "He's so talented, creative, smart, has so much potential and could become a great cornerstone of the Cavaliers' franchise for many years to come. I've been talking to him a lot this summer about NBA life, and in Cleveland, he's going to learn so much from coach [Byron] Scott, who will be a great mentor as well."