Could Amnesty Land Baron Davis in Miami?

(Editor’s note: The following post resides mostly in the land of hypotheticals. Given the continual unknown surrounding the NBA, it’s really all we have to discuss…)

What if Baron Davis ended up with the Miami Heat?

Late last week, we touched on the updated thoughts surrounding the amnesty clause that is expected to be a part of the upcoming NBA collective bargaining agreement. When, exactly, that agreement actually arrives is a different post for a different time. 

With specific regard to said amnesty clause, the Cavaliers will appear to have two options: remove a player from the payroll figures to the cost of 75 percent of due compensation or hold on to the clause in certificate form, using it to rid the team of a mid-level deal gone awry.  If the team were to use the clause to their advantage now – taking them from the 12th highest payroll to somewhere in the mid-20s with regard to NBA brethren – it is assumed that the team would buy out either Antawn Jamison ($15 million remaining) or Baron Davis (nearly $29 million remaining, $26 million of which is guaranteed). 

Based on numbers, the easy decision would be to send Baron Davis packing, thanking him for his contributions last season, including, but not limited to, allowing the Cavaliers to land the first-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.  It would free up immense amounts of cap space, completely ridding Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant of any potentially legitimate criticism lobbed their way when they made the deal last winter.  But, as laid out in the initial post, the team would like to keep Davis around to help mold the team’s point guard of the future in Kyrie Irving.  And, on a team full of young players, the veteran presence would be a welcomed addition.  

Not sold yet?  What if releasing Davis would mean he would end up joining LeBron James and the Miami Heat for what is guaranteed to be a shortened season that would benefit aging veterans?  As one specific league source asked WFNY following a rebuttal, “Who else is going to play point guard? Norris Cole?”  Sure, James is continually looking to recruit talented players like Jamal Crawford or Steve Nash, but with Davis – in this instance – earning his salary from the Cavaliers, he could certainly entertain signing a deal at a lower level of pay in order to ensure a better chance of winning. Whether that’s in Miami, New York or even closer to home (hello, Lakers) would remain to be seen.

Gilbert and Grant make a trade for the long-term betterment of the team and luck into a rule that allows them to rid the payroll of the insane contract which they were forced to take on in order to receive a draft pick, only to have that contracted talent sign somewhere else – honestly, Miami? –  for the league minimum?  Obviously, team decisions have to be made based on what is better for the Wine and Gold long term.  But as fans, how would you feel if ridding the team of the largest albatross of contracts meant an instant improvement to a team which has become the arch-enemy of all things right within the NBA?

  • Dingo Jones

    You have to do what is best for your team, regardless of the effect on other teams. If Baron Davis decides to play in Miami, that would be his decision, but in the long run it has no effect on the success or non-success of the Cavaliers.

    Though I have to admit, if it played out like that, it would suck mightly.

  • Vengeful Pat

    I would rather keep Baron Davis because I think he is perfect being the alpha dog on a team with a bunch of young guys who are still learning the NBA ropes with a coach he respects (playing for Mike Dunleavy will make you remember how sweet you had it with Byron Scott). It’s a good situation for him, and frankly I don’t think the Cavs can really find a better player out there with the money we’re spending on him.

    With that said, if BD does get bought out and goes to Miami, I think he will morph back into the formidable “Locker-Room-Cancer BD”. Playing in Miami with at least 2 guys who rank higher on the alpha chain and for a brand new coach who he doesn’t know… seems like a perfect situation for a meltdown. My best guess… BD starts off great, then cools off tremendously, then comes up with an “injury” and Norris Cole ends up having to run the point anyway while multiple stories come out of Miami regarding chemistry problems.

  • Ben

    I’m with Dingo. The Cavs can’t make moves based on what Miami MIGHT do. You gotta do what’s best for the Cavs, not Dan Gilbert’s “we’ll win a title before LeBron” ultimatum.

    Plus, Davis + Wade + LBJ? That’s a lot a dribbling and standing around, no (not to mention iffy shot selection)? I’d be way more ‘worried’ Miami will win if they got someone like Nash (pass first, lights out shooter).

  • Jacob Dean

    If cutting Baron Davis to save 29 million so we can go after another soon to be free agent(Like getting Westbrook and turning him into a SG which I know is highly unlikely for either scenario of getting him or turning him into a SG) is the better option. If he wants to go join the Heat thats on him. Gilbert and Grant need to start thinking of ways to get us into the playoffs again without caring about what the South Beach Mafia of Best Friends do. Our team is not affiliated with the Heat and vice versa.

  • Ben

    It would be an absolute tragedy for Davis to sign in Miami. I would rather he remained on the Cavaliers fat and out of shape than there be any minor chance he helps LeBron win a championship. Although, at least based on last year, it seems like his mindset is that of being a solid veteran presence and mentor for the younger Cavaliers players which would be fantastic for Irving.

  • masonjarjar

    Any “issue” with Davis going to the Heat is a purely emotional one. Has nothing to do with basketball reality because the Cavs would never be in competition with the Heat in the hypothetically upcoming season. And it’s not like Davis is the “missing piece” to bring the Heat a ring.. he might be one of 10 missing pieces.. That being said, I do like him and I think he could help the Cavs, but I realize dropping that salary has to be a priority.

  • Shamrock

    Let ’em go we need more JV players, I mean HS guys.

  • Chip

    tss tss I bet a plane would probably land him in Miami or sumthin

  • WayneEmbrysKids

    If the Heat somehow suck next year, Cavs have the right to switch 1st round draft picks. Cheering for them to somehow be a lottery team.

  • Scott
  • mgbode

    75% of $29mil is $21.75mil. that is a savings of $7.25mil. not a savings of $29mil. and, it is broken up over 2 years of his contract (I assume we would not owe him the money upfront but still over the course of the contract, but I could be wrong here).

    is not having Baron Davis on the court worth $3.625mil per year? I argue that it is not and we should keep him and play him at SG if we want to open a path to Irving at PG.

    (yes, we would get to take the salary off the cap number, but we don’t appear to be in any danger of hitting the luxury tax, so no extra savings there. and, i don’t think we are a player in next summer’s Dwight Howard frenzy, so no need to hoard the cap space yet either)

  • Patrick J

    Wouldn’t matter in the slightest…it would just be another player who needs the ball in his hands a majority of the time to be happy/successful. A ball handler is not one of the many things that Miami needs to round out their team w/ quality components.

  • Hurricane

    If they cancel the whole season I can’t see it doing anything except helping the Cavs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we would be rid of Jamison’s contract since he’s only got this year remaining. We could use amnesty on Davis’ contract and we would hopefully get a high draft pick through our terrible record last season or the Heat’s pick. We’d have 3 rookies with high upside and a ton or money to spend.

  • mgbode

    @hurricane – the players could potentially agree to anything on that front, but I find it awfully hard to believe that they would agree to voiding a year of guaranteed contracts for all of it’s current members. especially the loud voice that would come from the veterans on the last year of their last big contract (like Jamison)

    i would suspect that the contracts would ‘roll over’ to next season if this season was cancelled.

  • Hurricane

    @mgbode (or anyone else who may know)- have you read anything anywhere that addresses the situation with contracts if the whole season is cancelled? I’ve been trying to pay attention to the lockout as much as possible, but I haven’t seen anyone write about this. It would be interesting to see what the fine print is with the contracts. I would think there has to be something in place in the contracts to protect both sides.

  • Hurricane

    Also, you’re right that there would be a strong voice from players like Jamison, but there may also be an equal number of players who would want out of their contract to become free agents. Obviously, it would depend on a lot of factors (mainly if they can get more money on the open market). Dwight Howard and Chris Paul-mania will have to wait for another season, as well.

  • christopher

    Maybe too far off subject but did we ever use the Trade Exception from the James trade?

    where is that in all this lockout mess?

  • mgbode

    @christopher – it was said before the lockout that the Cavs would not apply for an extension for that trade exception. not sure if that could get put back on the table or not (we’d have 11 days I think left on it?)

  • Brian

    I don’t see how using the amnesty on Davis really helps the Cavs – they don’t need the cap space this year or next. What are they going to do – sign some completely average free agent to fill minutes? This team needs to be building toward 2013 and beyond.

  • CBI

    Adding a volume shooter who doesn’t play much defense to a team where there already aren’t enough touches to go around… Sounds like a good idea to me.

  • WayneEmbrysKids

    Actually, if AJ comes off the books at the end of next year, and Baron was gone too, you could hypothetically have the Cavs or Heat and the Kings first round picks AND fill the BD/AJ cap space with a premium free agent.

    Missing the whole season would mean the clock wouldn’t start ticking on Kyrie and TT until 2012 (when they sign the rookie contracts), so you could have 4 rookies at rookie salary (with Bird rights) along with a max contract free agent to start the 2012-2013 season. Assuming you get at least one good pick, and there’s plenty of talent in that 2012 draft, this team could have a complete rebuild by the next time the take the floor – with a serious no BS playoff push by 2013-2014.

  • WayneEmbrysKids

    Dwight Howard

  • Mac

    If we could get rid of Baron and Antawn, the savings would be great! Plus, if we could at least get one free agent, along with the draft pick, i would take it as a success. I know it probably won’t happen but could you imagine the starting lineup of Kyrie, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes, and Tristan Thompson? We’d be back baby!

  • Swig

    The article title made me throw up in my mouth. Glad it’s just speculation.

    If a player gets amnestied they should have to forgo that payment if they sign a new contract, or the new team has to pay the player some % of the old one.

  • Chucky Brown

    it really sucks that Norris Cole is on the heat

  • Chucky Brown

    it really sucks that Norris Cole is on the heat

  • Jon

    Ignoring the possibility of him going to the Heat entirely, I don’t think the Cavs should amnesty Baron, we should instead use it on Jamison. Jamison’s defense was atrocious last season, and his offense wasn’t much better. While I respect him as a class act and a veteran presence, I think Baron had a much bigger impact on the court and they’re both making obscene amounts of money this year.

  • Andrew McLoon

    You Can Tarde Baron Davis To The Miami Heat Tam With Carmelo Anthony On The Miami Heat