While Elton Brand characterizes his decision to opt out of the final year of his deal with the Clippers as little more than a formality, for Golden State’s Baron Davis to leave nearly $18 million on the table not only all but guarantees his days in a Warriors jersey are done, but it represents no small risk for the point guard. The San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami expresses “absolute, unmitigated shock that any 29-year-old injury-prone player would walk away from so much money with (presumably) nothing guaranteed beyond today,” while also professing “Davis’ lightning strike is the perfect way to end his Warriors’ tenure.”
There’s a tiny chance that Davis has an under-the-table deal with a team below the salary cap or soon able to get under and that he will walk away from the Warriors for nothing.
If that is at all true, the Los Angeles Clippers are the only realistic team for that scenario – Baron is an L.A. native and the Clippers have tons of salary flexibility.
Elton Brand also opted-out Monday and, if they renounce free agent Corey Maggette, the Clips could re-sign Brand for a decent contract or trade him for lesser money, then have room to sign Davis outright to a long-term contract worth $60 million or more.
That’s a hard one to envision given the Clippers’ thrifty ways, of course. But if Brand immediately agrees to a cut-rate deal (say, for $12 million a year instead of $18 million per), then watch out.