Deadline Deal Brings Baron-Byron Reunion
Within hours of the Trade Deadline passing, the Cavaliers sent guard Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon to the L.A. Clippers in exchange for two-time All-Star Baron Davis and L.A.’s unprotected first round pick in the 2011 Draft.
The 31-year-old Davis is averaging 12.8 points and 7.0 assists per contest in 43 games this season with Los Angeles. In 12 NBA campaigns, the former Bruin has career averages of 16.5 points, 3.9 boards and 7.3 assists in 791 career games. Among all active players, Davis ranks fourth in total assists (5,798) and is one of just seven players with over 13,000 career points and 5,000 assists.
The No. 3 overall pick of the Charlotte Hornets in 1999 after two years at UCLA, Davis was with the franchise when it relocated to New Orleans before being dealt to Golden State early in the 2004-05 season.
It was in the Big Easy that he and Coach Byron Scott butted heads, precipitating Davis’ move back west. Coach Scott explained on Thursday afternoon that those days are water under the bridge – reinforced by an emotional preseason meeting between the two in which Davis apologized for those difficult days.
Six years later, Scott is eager for the reunion.
“I hope that (Davis) looks at this as an opportunity to kind of change people’s minds about what type of guy he is and what kind of player he is,” said Scott. “This is a fresh start for him; a fresh start for us. He has a lot of people right here that are behind him 110 percent.”
The Clippers pick in 2011 is unprotected, meaning it’s in play no matter where L.A. is selecting. As of today, the Clippers are 21-37.
“In addition to getting a great point guard in Baron, who we feel can come in here and help these young guys,” added Scott. “But the opportunity to get two top ten players in this draft, we feel like we’re headed in the right direction.”
With the addition of Davis, the Cavaliers will obviously be taking on salary. But in order to secure what could be a second top ten pick, Cleveland’s ownership stepped strong to the plate.
“The Draft is very important to a franchise, in all sports, particularly in this one,” said Cavs GM Chris Grant. “It gives us another opportunity and a ‘chip in the game,’ so to speak, that, because of our ownership group willing to step up at a pretty high level financially, allowed us to do something like this.
“It creates a unique opportunity. It’s not often that you see a team that has multiple picks, unprotected, in the same year.”
The Cavaliers say goodbye to a pair of players in Williams and Moon that were instrumental in their recent run of good fortune.
Acquired from Milwaukee in exchange for Damon Jones and Joe Smith in the summer of 2008, Williams was a first-time All-Star in his first year in Cleveland. Mo started 81 games that year and finished with the best scoring average (17.8 ppg) of his career.
But Mo’s numbers declined (17.8 ppg, 15.8, 13.3) in his three years with the Wine and Gold, along with this offseason’s acquisition of former teammate Ramon Sessions – and Sessions’ play over the last month – made Mo expendable at the Deadline.
Jamario Moon signed as a free agent one summer ago and had an up-and-down year-and-a-half with the Cavaliers.
The high-flying forward became a fan favorite for his high-flying antics and easygoing attitude. But that didn’t always carry over to Cleveland’s coaches. After starting the first 12 games of this season, the former Globetrotter piled up 17 DNPs in 28 games before working his way back into Byron Scott’s rotation earlier this month.
Coach Scott will have a duo of dependable point guards in Davis and Sessions heading into the season’s home stretch.
“First of all, I think Baron is a true point guard,” said Scott. “He can make shots, he sees the floor extremely well, he can push the ball, he can post up, and he’s a heck of an on-ball defender. So he brings a lot of elements to this team that we need.”
Sessions, who’s been lights-out through February, also looks forward to working with Davis – albeit at the expense of one his closest friends in the league.
“I’m definitely going to miss them and I know the Cavs are going to miss those players also,” said Sessions. “But we’ve got to move on now. We’ve got a great guy in Baron Davis, a proven guy. A guy that I look to come in here and teach me a few things, just like Mo did.”
Coach Scott was asked if he’d have any advice for Davis – a fellow native Southern Californian – coming to the cooler climes of Northeast Ohio and a team in the midst of a youth movement.
“All I can do for him is lend my expertise as far as – No. 1, the city is a great city and No. 2, this organization is unbelievable. And if you come in here and do what you’re supposed to do and do what you’re capable of doing, you’ll find out how great this place is.”
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.