I suppose I am not the first one to bang on this drum, but I will make certain that I am the one banging on said drum the hardest.
I acknowledge that trading Davis is not going to be easy.
I don’t care.
It doesn’t matter to me if the Clippers get Kwame Brown and a Pinto in return, this needs to happen.
Today, the Clippers have very little leverage in shoveling Davis off. He is coming off another injury. All the Clippers can hope for at this point is for him to stay healthy for a few weeks, show signs that there is still a good basketball player in that 31 year old body and hope that some dimwit (Which begs the question: Is there a team in NBAland that is more dimwitted than the Clippers?) is willing to take on the remaining $40+ million left on his brutal contract.
So if Davis plays well, why trade him? He’s exciting! He can get hot, drop 30 a night and carry the Clippers to the Promised Land!
Not so fast.
The reason why the Clippers need to rid themselves of Davis is not simply because of his contact; while I admit it is an albatross, unloading the deal would be just an added perk.
I’m talking about the long-term benefits of not having Baron Davis on this team. Davis has to go is because he is a square peg in the round hole. The Clippers’ future is with its two young stars, Eric Gordon (#7 pick in the 2008 draft) and Blake Griffin (#1 pick in 2009).
Keeping Davis on the squad prohibits the growth of Gordon and Griffin from a leadership standpoint. With Davis in the lineup he dominates (hogs) the ball and it appears that the young stars acquiesce to his direction.
The Clippers need to treat this season in the same manner that the Oklahoma City Thunder handled their 2008-2009 campaign. Put the franchise in the hands of your young studs and let them led the team. Allow them to learn to lead.
The Thunder put their franchise into the hands of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. A year later they gave the Lakers all they could handle in the first round of the playoffs.
It really does not matter what the Clippers get in return for Davis. Some bench help would be nice. A young point guard who distributes the ball and can push on the break would be a perk.
But what comes back in return is not where the value is. This is addition by subtraction. Subtracting an injury prone, overpriced pseudo-point guard and adding those intangibles teams need for long-term growth.
Let your young leaders grow. Let them grow from privates to generals.
All you have to do is hand them the keys.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Williams
32 year-old sports fan who has the audacity to think that he could be good at this sports writing thing. I'll be honest. I'll be snarky. I'll be sarcastic. Maybe not in that order. It is my goal to ensure that my opinions will generate a response from you, dear reader. Good, bad or indifferent, I welcome your replies.