Per Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cleveland Cavaliers have used their amnesty provision on talented, but oft-injured point guard Baron Davis. As if that wasn’t enough to whet the appetites of Knick fans – scorned earlier today by free agent Jamal Crawford – Newsday’s Alan Hahn suggests that New York and Davis are mutually interested in joining forces to further solidify the team’s backcourt.
There’s just one little problem: Lloyd reports that Davis’ “back issue is legit & severe, [and] could keep him out an extended period of time.”
The fact that Davis is already injured shouldn’t come as a great surprise to anyone who has followed his career. Despite his performance in limited minutes for the Cavaliers last season – you might recall Davis torching the Knicks in MSG – he has always been regarded as a player whose fitness and motivation was questionable, at best.
Then again, there’s another angle to consider here. If Davis wants only to play for the Knicks, it makes sense for his agent to disseminate phantom injury news to dissuade other teams from claiming him. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but this is the National Basketball Association we’re talking about here. Some soap operas have less drama.
Regardless of the veracity of these injury-reports, Davis would represent a major upgrade over the recently-signed Mike Bibby, and the former’s superior court vision would presumably play well within a Mike D’Antoni system predicated on ball-movement. He’s a 41% career shooter (32% from long-range) and he also rebounds well for his size and position.
Another plus is that Davis is capable of playing lock-down defense when he feels like it, and again, if healthy, he could present real match up problems for both Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo come playoff time.
For the Knicks, Baron’s upside is surely worth any potential wait, especially given their lack of depth at the guard position. Assuming he clears waivers, and the interest is indeed mutual, New York will almost certainly sign him for the veteran’s minimum.
Knick fans would just be wise to temper their expectations.
(Photo credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.)