I think we can all see the writing on the wall and I just don't see Glen Big Baby Davis making a return to the Boston Celtics. This isn't to say that Baby is a bad player or that he can't succeed in this league. If anything, I like many parts of his game (when he's focused and in shape) and I have enjoyed much of his tenure in Boston. I just think that everyone involved would benefit from a fresh start.
For one thing, I don't think he fits well with Doc's coaching style. I don't think that they dislike each other per se, but they just don't have a great working relationship from my vantage point (which admittedly is many miles away).
Whenever Doc is asked about Baby, he always gives an interesting and straightforward answer. Sometimes it is glowing in praise and more often than not it is critical and downright humbling. Take the latest from Doc's interview on WEEI:
Well, I don’t know what it was. If that was it, then that’s too bad. To me, I thought it was more in between his ears than his play. I thought the whole contract thing affected his play. I thought he had the wrong focus at times because of that. I think when you stray away from just being a team player and being the role that you’re given, I think you struggle. I think all players do. And I thought Baby did that.
See, Doc didn't have to say all of that. He could have left it at "Baby got away from some of the things that make him a good basketball player" and left it at that. But he decided, for good or bad, to play psychiatrist and opine on what was going on "between the ears." He went on to say that he wouldn't mind bringing Baby back but that "we can't overpay." That sounds like a very clear message to Danny (as if they haven't already had this conversation a few times).
The feeling appears to be mutual too. Davis has admitted in the past that Doc's coaching style wears on him sometimes. When he was a free agent a few summers ago, he couldn't get the value he was looking for on the open market and ended up back in Boston kind as a default.
Don't forget, the Celtics put a weight clause in his contract in 2009. Jackie MacMullan, among others, has noted on several occasions that Davis ballooned in weight in the last few months of this season. So it is possible that Davis not only played himself out of a big free agent payday, but he may have eaten himself out of a contract bonus.
Davis certainly sees things differently. He wants people to look at the body of his work, ...not just his body.
"You can’t just base it on this playoffs,’’ he said. "My whole body of work I feel like I can play in this league and I can start in this league. From my second year when [Kevin Garnett] went down to my third year playing in the playoffs and this year was my best year. I just didn’t play well in the playoffs this year. I didn’t get a good rhythm. Some things happen like that, so I don’t think the playoffs is going to hurt me as much.’’ "I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer,’’ he said. "I want to show the world my talents, if it’s here in Boston or wherever.’’
That's all well and good. I think Davis could play a role on a team and even would eventually find his role here in Boston again if the market put him back in Celtic green. I just think that given the choice and equal money, he'll probably go somewhere else, and that is fine by me.
One of the biggest reasons I'm comfortable saying that despite relying on him heavily this season due to a thin and frail big man rotation is replacement value. Said bluntly, undersized power forwards with "lots of heart" are a dime a dozen in the NBA. The draft is full of power forwards. You can't turn around in the Vegas Summer League without knocking over an undersized power forward. Is Baby one of the better ones? He was at the beginning of the year.
But will he continue to be? Sorry, but guys with weight issues don't tend to have a long shelf life in the NBA. I think we've reached the point where Davis has "earned" a decent payday with his overall season but probably will either plateau or decline from this point on. In short, he's worth about what they paid him, he'll likely get more than that elsewhere, and I wouldn't want to give him one cent more to keep playing here. I'm sure Danny will listen to offers for a sign-and-trade, but I wouldn't bank on that getting us much value in return.
So my guess is that he heads off to another team. If so, thanks again for the memories Baby. We'll always have this to remember you by.