NEW ORLEANS -- A few hours after signing his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, Glen “Big Baby” Davis was still not officially a Clipper.
After originally thinking he would be in uniform and available to play Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis was told he still had to take a physical back in Los Angeles on Tuesday and would be able to make his debut with the team Wednesday against the Houston Rockets.
So instead of being on the bench with his new teammates during the Clippers’ 123-110 win over the Pelicans, Davis watched from the locker room.
After the game, he sat in front of his locker, staring at the final box score for more than 20 minutes, studying it as if it were game film.
“I’m looking at how I would fit,” Davis said as he continued to look over the box score. “What minutes would I play, seeing who takes all the shots and seeing who takes some of the shots. You see the majority of the guys took double-figure shots and you got two guys who came off the bench with double-figure shots. I’m just seeing where I can do my job and I see some things.”
As Davis looked over the box score and chatted with Jamal Crawford and Reggie Bullock, who were sitting to his left and right, he didn’t mind having to sit out his first game with the team despite there being only 23 games left in the regular season to get acclimated.
“You want to play and you want to go out there and join your new team and be around the guys,” Davis said. “But you have to handle your business first as far as everything else and there are a lot of games left to be played and I’ll be ready.”
While Davis was an easy fit for the Clippers on paper -- having played for Clippers coach Doc Rivers and the majority of his staff with the Boston Celtics from 2007-11, winning the title in 2008 -- his carefree demeanor also seemed to be a seamless fit for a Clippers locker room that likes to have fun.
As Chris Paul got ready to leave the locker room, he engaged Davis in a conversation about Lil Boosie, a rapper from Baton Rouge, La., where Davis was born and raised.
“I think Big Baby is going to bring energy, excitement and passion,” Paul said. “Obviously I know him a little bit better than some of the other guys and I’m just excited about him. He’s a great personality and competitor. He’s someone that’s going to compete night in and night out.”
After Davis, 28, reached a buyout with the Orlando Magic on Friday and was waived, he received calls from Kevin Garnett, trying to get him to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, and Doc Rivers, trying to get him to sign with the Clippers. Davis had to choose between his former teammates and former coach with the Celtics when deciding which playoff team to finish the season with.
“When you have family one both sides of the field it is hard because you won a championship with both guys,” Davis said. “You have unconditional love for them, but at the same time you have to understand what you’re trying to accomplish for yourself and what you see yourself doing in the future.”
Davis, who was averaging 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 45 games this season, was making $6 million and was due to make about $6.6 million next season.
“I just really felt the Clippers were heading in the right direction. They're young, they got a great coach, a great point guard, a great rising star like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and guys that you can build around, and I feel like I'm one of those types of guys, a glue guy."
Davis was certainly a “glue guy” on the Celtics but was forced to be a starter and a veteran leader with the Magic, a role he wasn’t entirely comfortable with. Now, back with Rivers and on a team with their own version of the “Big Three” in Paul, Griffin and Jordan, Davis can go back to the role he relished being in with the Celtics.
“My role with Boston and not being there and not being in that role, you kind of miss it when you go to another team and you have to do other things other than what you do,” Davis said. “Here I can just do what I do and it will be magnified and glorified as something important because we’re trying to win something bigger than self. It means a lot for me to be here right now.”
Rivers said he didn’t have to really sell Davis on coming to Los Angeles. The Clippers are a championship contender this season and will be for the foreseeable future with their core, which Davis could complement as he did during his time in Boston.
“We were on the phone with him and just told him what we offered, and I'm sure the other guys did that,” Rivers said. “I do think that it helped a little bit that we have a relationship. He knows me and I know him. I think that's the situation he wanted to be in, and that's good.”
Not only does Davis give the Clippers some much-needed depth in the frontcourt, but he also brings a championship ring and championship experience to a roster that had none before he walked into the visiting locker room in New Orleans on Monday night.
While Paul, Griffin and Jordan have yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs, Davis has won a title, played in two NBA Finals and hit a game-winning shot in a conference finals game.
“I know what to expect. I know what it’s going to take,” Davis said. “A lot of people haven’t experienced the feeling of champagne hitting your face and getting in your eyes and you can’t see. They don’t know what it’s like to win a championship or know what it’s like to say you’re going to Disneyland. It’s a different experience, so hopefully I can share that with this team and share that passion and dream with them.”