The Baron Davis that most people thought was sent to Cleveland along with the Clippers first round draft pick last season, in exchange for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, was not the same guy that Cavaliers fans ended up meeting. In playing only fifteen games for the Cavs, starting nine of them, Davis became universally embraced by the Cavs fanbase for his swagger, leadership, and toughness.
He only averaged 14 points and 6 assists per game in his Cavaliers career, but that wasn’t the point. He helped lead a team that previously lost a record setting total of games in a row before he got there to some memorable wins down the stretch last year. Included amongst those handful of victories were one at the Garden, and another at home against LeBron’s Miami Heat in particular. The throat slash he offered the crowd on his way off the Quicken Loans court after the Miami win didn’t hurt his rep around town either.
Regardless of all that however, the Cavaliers organization made the obvious and prudent decision on Wednesday night to cut ties with the 32-year old point guard set to occupy almost $30 million in cap space over these next two seasons.
The following statement was released by the Cavaliers in announcing they would indeed use their Amnesty Clause Provision to waive Davis:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived guard Baron Davis and designated him as the team’s amnesty player, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.
“We would like to thank Baron for his contributions to the team during his time in Cleveland,” said General Manager Chris Grant. “He has been an absolute professional since the day he joined the Cavs and we now wish him the best in the future.”
Baron Davis was not in town for Cavs Media Day earlier this week, and had been sidelined from practice with what was described as a L2-3 bulging disk prior to the amnesty decision being announced. Later on last night, Yahoo!’s Marc Spears reported that Davis could be sidelined with what his agent described as a serious herniated disk for up to ten weeks. Other reports from The Cleveland Plain Dealer have Davis possibly out as long as twelve weeks recovering from that back injury.
What this move also officially signifies for Cleveland is that they’re now officially handing the ball off to Rookie Point Guard and number one overall pick Kyrie Irving. It’s his team now, completely, and he won’t share PG duties with anybody moving forward. Some thought maybe Baron could bring value to the Cavaliers investment in Kyrie this season as some type of mentor, as well as helping take some pressure off him on the floor, but it appears Davis’ injury would’ve rendered that impossible anyways.
It will be interesting to see where Baron Davis ends up playing this season, if he does at all actually. It would stand to reason that the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks could all take a flier on Davis at some point. Baron himself has also expressed interest in reuniting with former Coach Paul Silas down in Charlotte too over the last couple months. If his back injury does have him out twelve weeks though, that wouldn’t have him back until March.
Then again, he didn’t need long to make an good impression in Cleveland. Maybe he’ll do the same at his next stop.