NBA Free Agents 2011: Should the Boston Celtics Bring Glen Davis Back?

Jeremy GottliebContributor IAugust 9, 2011

It's a safe bet that not even Big Baby knows what Big Baby is thinking.
It's a safe bet that not even Big Baby knows what Big Baby is thinking.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

For three seasons, he was an unsung hero, a guy who made one invaluable contribution after another en route to one championship and a near-miss going for another.

Then last season happened. And, almost as out-of-nowhere as his stellar play off the bench throughout his first three years in Celtic Green was, Glen "Big Baby" Davis became the guy most likely to be gone when next season rolls around, whenever that may be.

When the C's needed Davis the most, during the playoffs, a guy who had made most of his bones as a clutch, big-game performer suddenly was smaller than anyone else. With Boston's veterans losing steam, with its frontcourt in tatters and with the Miami Heat beating their collective chests, Big Baby, 25, threw up one stinkbomb after another. He may as well have just thrown up.

In the 2011 postseason, Davis shot a putrid 39.1 percent, averaging a wretched 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in a little over 21 minutes per. He seemed to shrink from the spotlight, his trademark aggressiveness and tenacity replaced by one poorly-timed, long-range jumper after another.

The Celtics, who were down to present-day dinosaur Jermaine O'Neal and not much else up front, needed Big Baby more than they ever had at any point in his previous, three-plus years. And he responded by disappearing.

What made Davis's invisibility even more puzzling was its timing. It wasn't just that he provided next to nothing in the playoffs, it was that he provided next to nothing in the playoffs in a contract year. With a chance to earn himself a lot of money and a potentially larger role, be it in Boston or elsewhere, Big Baby spit up.

Of course, with the lockout in effect, there's nothing the Celtics or Big Baby can do regarding his status for next season or beyond. If he's coming back, if he's part of the C's long-term plans, we have no idea and we won't until this work stoppage ends.

He says he wants to come back. He also says things while referring to himself in the third person, cries when verbally jabbed at on the bench, and gets in bloody fights with people who are supposedly his friends, costing himself and the team time thanks to injuries suffered in said fights. Is he really worth all of the extracurricular business that comes with having him on the roster any longer?

Maybe. He's been in Boston four years, he knows the system and Doc Rivers is the only NBA coach for whom he's ever played (though lord knows, Doc may be as sick of Big Baby's act as anyone). But what will the cost be? Will he get smarter and grow more mature as he gets older? Will he ever truly "get it?"

The Celtics need to be in position to get younger while still remaining competitive as the next couple of years unfold and the Big Three ride off into the sunset. Big Baby could be a key component to that youth movement; a skilled, solid, experienced player well under 30.

Or he could continue to be a major pain in the ass who consistently makes Rivers scratch his head and wonder what he was thinking signing that five-year contract extension (besides, of course, the $7 million annual salary).

Which Big Baby the Celts would get if they bring him back is anyone's guess. Probably even Big Baby's.