Trade deadline: Reaction to Baron Davis deal
Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed and phone lines and BlackBerries have been silenced -- well, for a minute or two -- here is assorted reaction to the Clippers' big move, sending point guard Baron Davis and a first-round pick (2011) to Cleveland in exchange for guard Mo Williams and small forward Jamario Moon.
Spoke briefly with Davis on the phone and hope to have additional quotes from him later in the afternoon. He appeared stunned when I ran the bare bones of the trade framework past him late Wednesday night outside of the Clipper locker room here in New Orleans. In an e-mail today, Davis said he planned on going over to the Clippers' training facility to say goodbye to the staff at Playa Vista.
For the Clippers, salary-cap flexibility is the key here. The Clippers would have had $32 million on the books in 2012-13 and this deal enabled them to get down to $16 million. Additionally, Williams gave up his early termination option (ETO), which he could have used after this season for the final two years of his contract, said Clipper vice president of basketball operations, Neil Olshey.
"He’s a guy that is excited to be here," Olshey said. "Now you see a time in the organization where we have guys that are excited about playing here, so much so where they are willing to amend contracts in order to secure their positions.... We’ve got six guys under 22. We need guys that can help now. We have not given up any of the assets we’ll need if we want to go make another trade in June to upgrade another position."
Much was made of the fact that Davis is being reunited with his former coach Byron Scott. And it was an odd twist that the deal came down in New Orleans, where the two famously clashed. Scott told the Cleveland media that they had reconciled long ago, and revisited that ground.
Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer passed along the extensive comments from Scott, who spoke earlier on Thursday and talked about how Davis made the first move, in the preseason before last.
Scott: "To be honest he wanted to really kind of apologize for some of the things that happened in New Orleans. He felt that he understood now that I was just trying to make him a better basketball player. As you guys might not know, I can be tough on guys at times. I don't think he accepted it at that particular time, but he said he's matured and like I said, it's water under the bridge. We let it go and our relationship has been very good ever since."
"... I was very touched, to the point where I got on the bus, I was speechless. My wife was sitting next to me and I was like, 'Wow. I can't believe that he came to me and apologized for everything and said some of the things he said. Gave me a big hug and said, 'I love you and thank you for everything.' I was shocked by it. But like I said from that point on the relationship has been very good."
-- Lisa Dillman, reporting from New Orleans
Left photo: Baron Davis. Credit: Jesse Johnson / US Presswire
Right photo: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press