6 Possible Destinations for the Boston Celtics' Glen Davis
With the lockout no nearer to a resolution and the fate of the NBA season in serious jeopardy, free agency has become a bit of an afterthought for fans. But for those players whose contracts are up, finding a new team is still their main priority. Though teams can't contact players, you can bet there are some internal discussions going on about who to pursue when a resolution is finally made.
Of the summer's free agents, Glen Davis is likely to be sought after by any team needing a big body who can defend and contribute on the offensive end, which is really any team. Still, there are some who'll be more interested in pursuing Big Baby than others, so I've put together a list of six teams that will most likely be giving Baby a call post-lockout.
Without further ado, let's take a look at several franchises that could end up with Glen Davis on the roster when it's all said and done...
No. 1: Boston Celtics
Despite his dismal playoff performance (4.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 39.1 percent shooting in 21.2 minutes per game), the Celtics would likely welcome back Big Baby Davis. He buys fully into Doc Rivers' system and provides some much needed hustle for the veteran team. Since Doc signed a five-year extension, the Celtics organization are clearly committed to his style of play and Davis understands that just as well as the Big Four.
With Kevin Garnett's contract expiring after the 2011-2012 season, the Celtics may be in need of a new starting power forward if the Big Ticket retires and Davis could certainly fill that role. A nucleus of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Glen Davis is a solid one, maybe not a championship contender but certainly a playoff team, and if they can possibly sign Dwight Howard next summer, then the makings of another Boston dynasty will be in place.
Though Davis was in a bit of a slump for the latter part of the season and the playoffs, he was a Sixth Man of the Year contender for the better part of the year and was always willing to draw charge and play tough, physical defense even if he was overmatched. He's also not afraid to step up to a challenge, look at his performance in the 2009 postseason when KG was injured.
He played 36 minutes a night and averaged 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field as the Celtics came up one game short of the Eastern Conference Finals.
If he can put up those kinds of offensive numbers along with his improved defense and rebounding, he could certainly fill the impending void at the four spot the C's.
Davis has expressed his desire to remain in Boston, and even with rookie JaJuan Johnson set to take some spot minutes in the frontcourt, the Celtics should still look to make some sort of offer to Davis as long as his asking price isn't excessive. Johnson has a ton of potential, but he's not going to be able to contribute 20+ quality minutes a night.
Unless the team is going to try to sign a player like Carl Landry, Davis really is the best option. The back up power forward spot is simply too important for the Celts next season for them to risk coming out of the offseason with a sub-par reserve and one talented rookie.
Baby's ego hasn't been a huge issue during his time in Boston, so hopefully he won't jump at the highest paying offer. If the Celtics can keep Davis without really hurting their cap space for the 2012 offseason, he's certainly worth making an offer to.
No. 2: Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers are a fast rising team in the Eastern Conference. They have a quality backcourt with Darren Collison, Paul George and the newly acquired George Hill as well as a center with huge potential and a solid first scoring option in Danny Granger.
The only murky spot on their roster is the power forward spot, though Tyler Hansbrough came on well at the end of the season and in the playoffs. The Pacers have been linked to free agents David West and Carl Landry, so it seems they may not be satisfied with Psycho T as the starting option.
Personally, I think that the team should give Hansbrough a full season as the team's starting four. His per 36 minutes stats were an impressive 18 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, and he plays hard on both ends of the floor, despite not being the most skilled player at his position in the league. But this isn't an article about Tyler Hansbourgh, and if the Pacers are looking for a new power forward they should certainly inquire about Davis.
Sure, the Pacers finished sub-.500 last season, but they have a nice young core of players and with a couple solid moves, they could really be a postseason regular. They have a quality coach in Frank Vogel and an unselfish team that plays hard and certainly has room to improve. Still, they're largely inexperienced, and though Big Baby is only 25, he has a tremendous amount of playoff experience and a true winning mentality that would be essential.
The Indiana organization would be smart to bring him in to compliment new assistant coach Brian Shaw and George Hill to add a solid group of players with experience and winning mentalities who have all been in very successful organizations. The Pacers have to change the culture of their team from a losing one to winning one and what better way than to bring in good locker room guys who can provide some leadership for the team?
The Pacers could very well lose some of their inside muscle since both Josh McRoberts and Jeff Foster are free agents, so it would make sense to pick up a hustle player like Big Baby. Roy Hibbert has showed flashes of dominance, but even with the 7'2" center manning the middle, the team needs another solid interior presence.
If Indiana does manage to get Davis, I could see them rising as high as a fifth or sixth seed next year and winning around 45 games.
No. 3: Atlanta Hawks
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The Hawks are in a precarious position; they're not title contenders with their current roster and there is no easy way to fill their gaping needs at the center and point guard positions. They currently have Al Horford playing the center position, and while he's certainly capable of staying there, the Hawks could use another proven player capable of playing the five.
The Hawks were recently purchased by Alex Meruelo, and if Meruelo is truly committed to improving the Hawks from a middle of the pack playoff team to a title contender, he needs to spend some money to bring in players like Big Baby who can fill their roster holes.
Signing Glen Davis would go a long way towards fixing some of the team's major problems. They have a lack of hustle players who are willing to do things like dive out of bounds for loose balls or step in and draw charges, things that Baby was always willing to do in Boston. Davis, though slightly undersized, can also play center for stretches of time and could certainly spell Horford and allow him to play more time at his natural power forward position.
The team currently has Josh Smith starting at the power forward spot, but with his name being mentioned in a myriad of trade rumors, the starting four position could very well be up in the air, especially if they make a trade like Smith for Andre Iguodala. Marvin Williams is better suited to come off the bench or play the three, so acquiring a versatile frontcourt player like Davis would make sense.
There are some issues with Davis heading to Georgia though. His shot selection is very questionable at times and on a team like Atlanta that can be way too jump shot reliant, his outside shooting could become even more of an issue than it was on the Celtics. He won't necessarily improve their size in the post, which was a real issue in their Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls.
Despite these problems, the energy that Davis could bring to the Hawks would be the biggest asset and could earn him a look from the Atlanta front office.
No. 4: New Jersey Nets
The New Jersey Nets are in a very precarious position this offseason. Deron Williams - the franchise player they've been lacking for years - is in Newark, but with Williams set to become a free agent in the summer of 2012, New Jersey desperately needs to add some more talent to convince him to stay.
While many are saying that the team should resign Kris Humphries, and it's not a terrible idea, he's likely to be highly overpayed and the Nets shouldn't overpay for a role player like Humphries. Instead, they could pursue Glen Davis to fit in as their starting power forward.
Davis has a much more polished offensive game than Humphries, and though he's not the rebounding machine that Humphries is, he still grabs his fair share of boards. Also, Big Baby can play center, which means you could put Brook Lopez, who is more of a finesse player, at the power forward spot for stretches, where I think he'd play much better. Though Lopez is a legitimate seven-footer, Davis is much more willing to bang in the paint and play physical defense.
Besides just his physical abilities, Davis would bring a winning mentality to a team that is trying to make the transition from Eastern Conference doormat to playoff contender. Bringing in Williams was definitely a step in the right direction, but the team needs to surround him with more proven talent if they hope for D-Will to be a part of the Nets when they move to Brooklyn.
Instead of taking a risk on a high-priced player like David West, who is coming off a torn ACL, they could pursue Davis for much less and still have some money to throw at a small forward like Andrei Kirilenko or Wilson Chandler. Davis would also make an attractive trade piece if the Nets are serious about acquiring Dwight Howard.
A starting five of Williams, Anthony Morrow, Kirilenko or Chandler, Davis and Lopez would be one of the more well-rounded starting lineups in the league.
No. 5: New Orleans Hornets
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Since David West opted out of the final year of his contract and Carl Landry is a free agent, the power forward spot is a real question mark for the New Orleans Hornets. They could use any quality players in order to convince Chris Paul to remain in the Big Easy, and signing Glen Davis would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Davis has spent his career with an elite passing point guard so far, so why not join another one in New Orleans? If the Hornets can find a shooting guard who's solid defensively (or anyone but Marco Belinelli), they would be one of the league's better defensive teams. A lineup with Paul, Trevor Ariza, Big Baby and Emeka Okafor would be tough to score against.
Because of his midrange game, Davis would make a solid pick and roll/pick and pop player with Paul and could make a solid replacement for West and Landry should they depart. Because the Hornets are owned by the league, they don't have a huge amount of money to throw at some of the summer's marquee free agents, but if they can sign a capable two-guard like Nick Young or even J.R. Smith and Davis, they'll have a pretty solid lineup going into next season.
Still, there are some issues with Davis being the starting power forward in New Orleans. At 6'9," he's the same height as West, who is also undersized for the four spot. Emeka Okafor is only 6'10." Now he's not Chuck Hayes, but the Hornets do have a lack of size that singing Davis wouldn't necessarily help. One of the main reasons for their first round loss to the Lakers was their lack of size in the frontcourt, especially against Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Obviously the big question is whether or not Paul remains with the Hornets, and the fear of him leaving and New Orleans becoming a perennial lottery team will certainly drive away free agents. Perhaps Davis could sign a two-year deal for around $10 million so he isn't locked in long term if CP3 departs.
It may not be the most likely option, but I wouldn't be shocked if Davis ended up in New Orleans for a season or two.
No. 6: Denver Nuggets
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The Nuggets haven't really been discussed as a possible suitor for Big Baby, but I think they're a real dark horse contender for Davis' services this offseason.
With Nene opting out of his contract and Kenyon Martin likely gone, the Nuggets could use a versatile frontcourt player to go along with Kenneth Faried. Davis' mix of youth and veteran experience would be a huge asset to a Denver team that looks to stay competitive in the West even without Carmelo Anthony.
A power forward/center rotation of Davis, Faried, Al Harrington and Timofey Mozgov is solid, not championship caliber, but solid enough to keep the Nuggets challenging for a decent playoff seed, especially if Mozgov pans out as a legitimate seven-foot center.
If Davis slims down a bit, he could really thrive in a smallball line-up with Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler that could run older teams right off the court. His grittiness would mesh well with two-way players like Chandler and Afflalo and he could hopefully inject some defensive intensity into the team, which isn't exactly renowned for their D.
He would also work well with a pass-first point guard like Andre Miller who could get him the ball on the low block and let him go to work on opposing power forwards/centers. Though he's only 25, Davis would likely become one of the team's leaders thanks to his postseason success with Boston and his experience playing alongside Pierce, Allen and Garnett.
There are some questions though, like how would Davis react to being going from a veteran-filled team like the Celtics to a team of 20-somethings in Denver. The Big Three and Doc Rivers really helped keep Davis in check when he started hoisting up too many 20-foot jump shots and making poor decisions out on the court.
Ultimately, I think Denver would be wise to pursue Davis, who could bring some serious postseason experience, hustle and defensive intensity to the Nuggets and be a valuable part of their core for years to come.