With chaos raging around the league and their owner suddenly in the middle of it, the Cavs' front office is dealing with a different hot potato. How it plays out could affect several title contenders.
According to league sources, it has become clear that Baron Davis’ brief stay in Cleveland is likely coming to an end. How it comes to an end, though, is complex and could have an impact on where Davis ultimately lands next. As of Friday morning the Cavs had not decided how they wanted to proceed with Davis. Meanwhile, the point guard was in Cleveland and expected to report to training camp.
For some time Davis has been a candidate to be waived by the Cavs using the amnesty clause, which would remove the two years and $28 million the Cavs owe him from the team’s books and create more than $10 million in salary-cap space. This was not the plan all along. Things changed when the Cavs won the draft lottery and took Kyrie Irving, who is now their franchise player. In addition the team has a solid backup point guard, Ramon Sessions, on the roster.
In recent weeks, sources said, Davis had been counting on becoming a free agent and setting his sights on the Lakers, Knicks and Heat. His agents have been in talks with the Cavs to facilitate the process this week.
However, the Cavs are not sure they want to amnesty Davis. They still believe he has value to the team and think he could potentially become a strong trade asset later this season or next summer. The Cavs, sources said, were also turned off by the thought of Davis being paid by them but ultimately ending up in Miami helping LeBron James compete for a title.
Trying to work through the issues, Davis’ representation has also been involved in buyout talks with the Cavs, sources said. In a buyout, Davis might have to give up some of the money owed to him over the next two years but he would become an outright free agent. In this case, he would not have to pass through the league’s new amnesty waiver system where another team could bid and then acquire his rights.
Davis figures to be significantly in demand, especially in New York where starter Chauncey Billups appears on his way out to facilitate a Tyson Chandler signing. If the Lakers are unable to complete a trade for Chris Paul, they would also likely remain in the race if Davis gets out of Cleveland. The Heat are also in need of a point guard.
If Davis is amnestied another team could block those moves by bidding on Davis. After they finish making their moves, the Knicks, Lakers and Heat aren’t expected to have salary cap space and therefore could not bid on Davis.