Baron Davis opts out

by July 01, 2008

By Sam Rubenstein

Hi again! Yesterday I made my announcement that I’m leaving to go to grad school, and now I’m back 5 minutes later! This is because Mutoni is using his Canadian-given right to celebrate Dominion Day, or Canada Day. Thankfully there is some big NBA news today.

Baron Davis has decided to leave $17.8 million on the table (just like me!) by opting out of the final year of his six-year contract, which he originally signed in 2002 with the Hornets, and took him to where he is now, with Golden State.

“I’m surprised, because $17 million is a lot of money for a year of basketball, but that’s his prerogative,” Warriors Coach Don Nelson said. “He talked to me a couple days ago and said he was coming back. . . . Opting out of a $17 million contract, that’s (bold).”

I always love it when a word is subbed in with (), especially when used by someone like Don Nelson. What did he really say?

This does not mean Baron is done as a Warrior, but he definitely used his leverage coming off of a season where he played – get this, all 82 games. Unheard of for Baron Davis! The Warriors were caught slightly off guard here.

Davis had maintained for months that he wanted to remain a Warrior and was telling members of the organization last week that he would not opt out, but with mere hours to spare, the man most responsible for breaking Golden State’s 12-season playoff drought reversed course.

With talks on a contract extension going nowhere, he played the last major piece of leverage he had.

To summarize what can happen going forward, either the Warriors let him go and gain an infinity of cap room to make a move for a replacement like Gilbert Arenas, or they could do a sign and trade which would hurt their cap situation.

Either way, Baron is getting a long-term deal somewhere, and possible destinations are the Clippers, Memphis, and Philly to name a few, with an avalanche of trades to come if any of that happens. The Baron era, Boom Dizzle, B Diddy etc. era in Golden State has been tons of fun. Bring him back! You’re the Warriors, you’re built for entertainment.