Friday, December 9, 2011
Cavs mull decision on Baron Davis
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Baron Davis remains one of Cleveland's starting guards. That could change at any time.
On Friday, Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant said Davis has reported for training camp, and that the club has not decided whether to waive the veteran by using the NBA's new "amnesty clause."
However, Cavs coach Byron Scott may have hinted that Davis' days are numbered when he was asked if the former All-Star could be a mentor to rookie Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall draft pick.
"To be honest with you, you know who the best mentor for Kyrie is? You're looking at him," said Scott, who is beginning his second season with Cleveland. "You're looking at him. I've had this situation with Chris Paul (in New Orleans) as well. I don't want to sound cocky, but you're looking at him. I'm the best."
Davis, who missed most of the first practice session with back tightness, didn't say how long he thinks he will remain with the Cavaliers.
"I'm here, I'm here, I'm here," he said. "I'm living in the present. I love Cleveland. I love the fans. I love my teammates. This is a great organization. I appreciate each and every moment I'm here. That's all that I'm really focused on. That's all I can control is what happens with today."
Asked about the possibility of joining a contender instead of playing with the rebuilding Cavaliers, Davis said, "I like the Cleveland Cavaliers. I think we have some good young guys who are talented as well as athletic. As a veteran, it's great to be in a situation where people look up to you. This has been a phenomenal situation for me because coach Scott lets me talk a lot and be an extension of him on the floor. I'm embracing it and enjoying it."
Davis said his back tightened up doing a light running drill, but he doesn't believe it's anything serious. He also played with a sore knee last season.
The Cavs are trying to decide if it makes more sense to move forward with or without the 32-year-old Davis, who was acquired in a trade last season with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavs have contemplated using the "amnesty clause" in the new labor agreement that allow teams to cut and pay players while also getting salary-cap and luxury-tax relief. The team could pay Davis the roughly $28 million he is owed for the next two seasons and let him leave as a free agent. They could also negotiate a buyout with him.
The team has had talks with Davis' representatives. Grant was asked if Davis had requested his release.
"We are not going to get into any private negotiations or discussions that we have with our players or anyone else," he said.
The most pressing concern for the Cavs is turning their offense over to Irving, the former Duke standout who turned pro after playing just 11 games last season because of a foot injury. Cleveland went just 19-63 last season and is hoping Irving and forward Tristan Thompson, the No. 4 overall pick, can get them back to contending status.
If Davis stays with Cleveland, Scott said it's possible he and Irving could be on the floor at the same time.
"I've been known to do that, to play point guards together," he said.
Irving would like to get the chance to play with Davis.
"He's a great asset to our team," Irving said. "He brings a lot of veteran leadership. It would be great to have him here."
Davis believes Irving has unlimited potential.
"Kyrie has a great future ahead of him," he said. "It would be great for me to see him years down the line when I'm sitting on my couch with my kids and say, 'Hey, I used to play with that kid.'"
The Cavaliers signed Irving and Thompson on Friday. Financial terms on the deals were not immediately known.
Scott is eager to get to work with his team following the labor lockout. There isn't much time to get ready for the 66-game schedule, which will open for Cleveland on Dec. 26 against Toronto. Last season, Scott demanded a lot from his players during camp, pushing them to the point of exhaustion by making them run.
He can't be as tough this time around.
"Camp Scott has to be a little bit like Camp Soft," he said. "I can't be the normal guy that I normally am in training camp."
Grant carefully sidestepped questions about the letter that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sent to NBA commissioner David Stern on Thursday protesting the proposed trade of Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. Stern nullified the trade from New Orleans for "basketball reasons."
In his letter, Gilbert said, "I just don't see how we can allow this trade to happen. ... I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do. ... When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?"
Grant was reluctant to address his boss' comments.
"Dan is a passionate guy," he said. "It's a joy working for a guy who is that aggressive and it allows us to be aggressive and go after things. But it is not my place or our place to get into communications he has having with other owners or the league office."
Forward Joey Graham, who averaged 5.2 points in 39 games last season, has been waived. Grant said the team is still in negotiations with free agent guard Anthony Parker.
Five players have been invited to camp, including forwards Tyrell Biggs, Kyle Goldcamp and J.P. Prince and guards Kenny Hayes and Mychel Thompson.