Thursday, July 10, 2008
Updated: July 11, 12:35 PM ET
Davis signs multiyear contract with hometown Clippers
ESPN.com news services
LOS ANGELES -- Baron Davis flashed his sparkling sense of humor often on his return to Los Angeles. He'll probably need it since he's going to be playing for the Clippers.
Arriving on the heels of the departure of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, Davis will be involved in a rebuilding period for the perennially woeful Clippers.
General manager Elgin Baylor introduced Davis at a news conference on Thursday by saying he would make his remarks brief so Davis could say hello.
Davis stepped to the podium and said, "Hello." Then he paused for a few moments, as if that was all he was going to say, before chuckling and breaking into a broad grin.
Later, he talked about his friend Brand and their phone conversations after Davis decided to leave the Golden State Warriors to play for his hometown team. Brand finally bolted to Philadelphia, signing with the 76ers on Wednesday.
Asked when he last spoke to Brand, Davis said it was yesterday, laughing and adding, "I can't tell you what I said to him."
Brand, who has averaged around 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, was expected to remain with Los Angeles, but he took a five-year deal for $79.795 million in Philadelphia. Maggette, Los Angeles' leading scorer last season, essentially swapped places with Davis, signing a five-year deal with the Warriors for approximately $50 million.
When Davis decided last week that he was going to join the Clippers, he believed Brand was going to be his teammate, but Davis insists he's gotten over any disappointment that they won't be playing together.
"I'm signed, sealed and delivered, so I'm not disappointed at all," he said. "And he's signed and he's committed."
Davis had tried to sway Brand's decision.
"I talked to him, would tell him, 'Hey, this is the best place for you, we can do great things.' But obviously he chose otherwise," Davis said. "I can't be mad at him for that. I wish Elton Brand the best. He's a great guy, always going to be a great player and a friend of mine. He made a decision for the future of his family.
"There's no more Elton Brand in L.A. It's my turn and a chance for the young guys to step up. Get a couple more free agents and we'll be ready to go."
Davis said he didn't consider backing out of his deal (five years, $65 million) with the Clippers because Brand wasn't going to be around.
"It didn't really matter, once I made my mind up. I'm a man of my word," Davis said. "I committed to the Clippers and they committed to me."
Team president Andy Roeser said the past few days have been tumultuous for the Clippers, but "the silver lining is that we now have one of the best point guards in the NBA."
Coach Mike Dunleavy believes the Clippers have the two key players necessary for a contending team in Davis and center Chris Kaman.
"The toughest two pieces to find are a point guard and a center," Dunleavy said. "You look around, and the teams that win are teams with good point guards."
The 29-year-old Davis, a former UCLA star who grew up in Los Angeles, averaged 21.8 points, 7.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.33 steals while playing all 82 games last season for the Warriors.
A two-time All-Star, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound point guard has averaged 17.1 points, 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.95 steals during nine years in the league.
Since they are $12 million under the salary cap, the Clippers are courting other free agents, including guard-forward Josh Smith and frontcourt player Emeka Okafor, both restricted free agents.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.