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Why You Should Pity Baron Davis
If this had gone down one year ago, Baron Davis would have just received some great news. Traded from the directionless Clippers to the title-contending Cleveland Cavaliers and getting a chance to play with LeBron James? Who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect?
Of course, it’s not last year. And so the news that the still-struggling-but-now-promising young Clippers dealt Davis to the 10-47 Cavs for Mo Williams can’t help but make people feel a little sad for Davis, who appeared so rejuvenated to so many after being teamed up with Blake Griffin. Bill Simmons, a main proponent of the “Wow, Baron cares again” school of thought, had this to say about the deal before it was done:
If Cleveland trades for Baron Davis, it will be like Bizarro Big Loser: he will put on 10 lbs per week.
While we can’t imagine the effects of the deal being that severe, playing on the team that earlier this year suffered through the longest losing streak in NBA history (even if they broke it by beating the Clippers) is a long way from gleefully tossing alley oops through a sun roof.
And if you want a glimpse of what the general populace thinks of the deal (and its potential effects on Davis), just perform a simple Twitter search of his name and see the common themes (“Baron’s just going to want to retire,” “Baron would play in the D-League over this,” “Baron needs to be put on suicide watch,” etc., etc.) pile up.
Is it that extreme? Well…we would really hope not. Even so, though, we’re not sure why the Clippers made this deal. Besides the fact that Davis and Griffin clicked so well on the court, Williams is making $9.3 million this year vs. Davis’ $13 million, so it’s not like the team is saving a gigantic amount (by NBA standards, anyway). Moreover, the Clippers are also giving up this year’s first-round draft pick in this deal – and sure, it’s not an especially well-regarded draft class, but a lottery pick (clearly what the Clippers’ pick will be) is a lottery pick, and the Cavaliers could use as many of those as they can get their hands on.
So we’re intrigued to see how this plays out – maybe Mo Williams and Blake Griffin will connect seamlessly, maybe Davis will be fired up by the deal instead of dejected. But no matter what the Cavs get out of Davis, they now have an additional shot at strengthening their team for the future. Despite all the Clippers’ young talent, their 21-37 record is evidence they still need more, and unless they make another deal for an additional pick, they now have one fewer such shot.
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