Yesterday ESPN identified the player or players most likely to be Amnesty Clause’d on each team in the Association, and pegged Baron Davis as the Cavaliers’ most likely candidate. After Davis, Antawn Jamison was the next most likely possibility, and this much I think everyone can agree with.
BD has roughly $26 M guaranteed over the next two seasons, and Jamison has $15 M guaranteed for this next one. Both guys will probably be hurt for a while next season too because they’re both pretty old as far as NBA years are concerned, and when healthy they each play the same positions as Kyrie Irving and Omri Casspi do. So the Cavs kinda don’t need either of those guys right now, no offense to Baron or Antawn specifically.
Whether the Cavaliers end up using the Amensty Clause on either guy this season or not is still debatable at this point. Scott Sargent laid out the relevant and legitimate factors that would probably go into the decision making process for Chris Grant and company on Friday over at WFNY, and there’s definitely some strategic possibilities for the Cavs Braintrust to consider either way as far as each of those players are concerned.
What bothered me about ESPN’s discussion of this subject yesterday, as it related to the Cavaliers, is that they completed over-reached in an attempt to place both Dan Gilbert and LeBron James’ names together in the same sentence for no real reason in my opinion. This is what they said, and I highlighted the part that I’m referring too:
The Cavs dumping Davis is widely regarded as one of the inevitabilities of the second amnesty wave in NBA history. Especially since the Cavs landed Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 overall pick in June and still have Ramon Sessions on the roster.
Yet sources close to the situation insist that this decision isn’t as automatic as some would make it out to be. The Cavs are known to not value cap space as much as trade assets. They’ve also been on a mission to acquire future draft picks since the departure of LeBron James. There’s also one more issue: If the Cavs were to burn their amnesty card on Davis, sources say LeBron’s Heat would become an instant suitor and serious threat to sign Baron … which would be painful beyond words for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to stomach.
None of the above, though, has convinced rival teams that Cleveland can resist caving in the end and sending Baron back to free agency. The fact remains that Davis is owed $13.9 million this season, with $12.25 million of his $14.8 million salary in 2012-13 guaranteed even if he’s waived by June 30, 2012. Those are figures even Gilbert can’t ignore, making it a virtual certainty that the Cavs make this move and hand the keys to Irving on Day 1.
Why would Baron Davis signing with the Heat be so painful? Would it be more painful than say Zydrunas Ilgauskas signing with the Heat? And if your answer is yes there, are you then to argue that the Miami Heat are currently “A 32-Year Old Baron Davis Away” from winning an NBA Championship? It wasn’t Mario Chalmers’ fault the Heat didn’t win the NBA Title last season, and if they do or don’t next year he won’t be the deciding factor in that either. Neither will first round Draft Pick Norris Cole, and neither would Baron Davis be at this point in his career also – as much as I like BD, think he’s a cool guy, respect the career he’s had and all that.
If the Cavaliers don’t use the Amnesty Clause on Davis this season it will not be because the Cavs are afraid the Heat will get him. That whole idea is insulting, and doesn’t even make any basketball sense. Enough already.