Baron Davis inched closer to a return to the NBA on Friday after he signed a contract with the NBA D-League, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. On Jan. 12, Spears explained Davis would enter the D-League's player pool once he signed the contract.
According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Texas Legends "will pass on" bringing Davis onto their roster.
The 36-year-old point guard hasn't appeared in a competitive game since suffering a knee injury that ended his 2011-12 season. He played in 29 games that year, averaging 6.1 points and 4.7 assists per game.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report provided comments from Davis, who spoke about his health:
"When someone asked me [when I'd make my comeback] before, I didn't want to answer. If I make it in the NBA or wind up playing overseas, I will be at peace. I know the NBA is the place for me because I have the game and now I have the confidence in my body. The last six years I was hurt and in pain and I wasn't myself. I'm moving a lot faster and better than I did then."
Despite spending a lengthy amount of time away from the league, Davis indicated in July he was attempting to make a comeback.
"This is the first time I'm going to put myself out there, I'm going to try out for some teams," he said in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio (via ESPN.com).
Then, on Tuesday, Spears reported Davis was on the verge of joining the D-League player pool.
"He is looking forward to playing in the D-League and showing teams what he is capable of," Davis' agent Todd Ramasar said, per Spears. "He feels that the timing is right. More than anything Baron has put in the training and is confident in his body. He feels he is ready to return to the NBA."
Aside from his year with the Knicks, the two-time All-Star remained a good point guard during his last few seasons:
|Baron Davis Per-Game Averages (2008-2012)|
Davis' goal is likely to play in the NBA again, but starting out in the D-League is the right way to go. The quality of the league continues to improve, so it will be a nice testing ground to see whether he is still good enough to play at the highest level.
Plus, Davis can get more time on the court in the D-League, thus providing a better sense of whether his surgically repaired knee can hold up.
As if Davis doesn't already have enough hurdles in the way of his comeback attempt, two factors largely out of his control will be difficult to overcome.
For one, the NBA is flush with talented point guards; it's not a favorable market for Davis to enter. Few teams are in dire need of a point guard, especially one with as many red flags as Davis.
Even leaving aside his knee injury, the league's continued emphasis on athleticism at the point guard position might also scare any potential suitors away from signing Davis. At his peak, Davis was one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. Golden State Warriors fans still remember his massive dunk on Andrei Kirilenko:
But that play came nearly a decade ago. Davis has aged since then, and his athleticism was starting to wane before he suffered the knee injury.
In addition, Derrick Rose is nine years younger than Davis, and look at how much he has struggled since his first major knee injury in 2012. Staying healthy figures to be an issue for the former Warrior.
Hitting the court again will let Davis end his career on a higher note, but the chances that he makes it to an NBA roster are slim.