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Clippers trade Baron Davis to Cavaliers for Mo Williams

Feb 24, 2011, 3:22 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

This is why they are the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s about compounding mistakes.

The Clippers and Cavaliers have agreed to a trade that sends point guard Baron Davis and a 2011 first-round pick to the Cavaliers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo.

This is a huge win for the Clippers. They have been trying to get out from under Baron Davis’ contract — he is owed $28.6 million for the two seasons after this one — almost since the day Davis signed a five-year deal three years ago. Mo Williams is owed $18 million over the next two years. With Moon’s $3 million expiring contract, the Clippers save about $9 million for next season.

The Cavaliers get… I don’t know why they did this. They get a first-round pick this season that likely going to be in the 7-10 range and they said this is the primary motivation. This is a draft considered to have some nice role players in it but no stars. Are they really willing to pay $9 million in salary for the chance to draft a role player?

The problem is the Cavs also get Baron Davis. Who will be a disaster for them, on the court and in the locker room. Sure, Mo Williams has his own issues, but Davis brings a larger, more expensive set of them. Yes, Davis is playing better this season (13 points, 7 assists per game), but he was always better when he was engaged and motivated (he’s good when engaged). Blake Griffin did that for him this season — Davis dropped weight and was in the best shape in years. He loved running and feeding Griffin ally-oops. But even with all that his balky knee was giving him problems.

But that is not the Davis the Cavs will be getting. Trust me, they will soon have disinterested Baron — the one that jacks up threes early in the shot clock despite the fact he shoots under 30 percent from three. The one that coasts through games without energy. The one that is little more than an orange traffic cone for the opposing team to dribble around on defense. The one that shot 37 percent two years ago and 40 percent last season, but kept firing away at a crazy pace. And remember, Davis played for Byron Scott with the Hornets back in the day and that did not end well.

The Clippers get Mo Williams, who in and of himself is inconsistent. But he can shoot the three, and the Clippers need that. They have Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the slashing Eric Gordon to get points inside. They need to stretch the floor. Williams can do that.

The Clippers will miss that first-round pick but freeing up that salary will give them a lot more flexibility to get a quality player than the pick would have. The Clippers have their young core, they need to go out and get some better players to go around them. This move gives them the flexibility to do so.

It’s a smart move for the Clippers. For the Cavs… well, that’s why they are the Cavs.

  1. bigtrav425 - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    Its all about the draft pick.Who knows what else is going on maybe there going to flip Baron and/or the draft pick in another trade whether its now or later.I like the trade…and as far as the draft goes its just all about perception..from what iv seen i see alot of talent out there and even if they end up as role players…every team needs em

  2. hnirobert3 - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Not sure if it’s a win-win for either team, but the Clips definitely got the better longterm deal unless the Cavs draft wisely, which they’ve done once (JJ Hickson) since drafting LBJ.

    • savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      First lets remember that the Cavs haven’t had a top 20 pick since 2004.

      Second, since Lebron Cavs have had 7 (three of which were in one draft) total draft picks.Luke Jackson, Shannon Brown, Booby Gibson, Ejike Ugboaja, J.J. Hickson, Danny Green and Christian Eyenga.

      I’ll give you Ugboaja (who?) and Luke Jackson are no namers never to be seen again in the NBA. Brown, Gibson, Green, and Eyenga are all good role players. Hickson could start on most teams

      So ya, Cleveland really has drafted crappy since drafting Lebron…..

  3. ocgunslinger - Feb 24, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Something is really wrong. The Clippers didn’t get clipped and did something right? Following the draft for Blake this means two things right in 2 years. Maybe we are on a roll?

  4. djeg07 - Feb 24, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    first round pick for mo williams and moon??? yes davis is old, but his best days were with the hornets, and final 1-2 years in nola, was with byron scott?? did they get along, no. Will this trade go down as a win-win you wont know for 2 or 4 years. Mo is showing age, moon is a great expiring contract. Davis will be shipped away sooner or later in a deal in 2011 or next year. The draft has some good talent not great, but sullinger, irving, and a few others that are top 5-10 potential hey i’m up for it.

  5. gregjennings85 - Feb 24, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    I disagree, I would rather have Davis and a 1st round pick than Mo Williams every day of the week.

    I’m a Bucks fan, and I can tell you, everything you just said about Baron, is like a breath of fresh air compared to Mo Williams’ standard behavior.

    We as Milwaukee fans noticed that he toned down his antics when LeBron was around, but now he’s back to being an average player with an above average self-esteem.

    • leearmon - Feb 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      I completely agree. Mo Williams vs Baron Davis is besides the point. The way Ramon Sessions has been playing, im sure either Cleveland has no intentions of keeping Davis for long, or they plan on shipping Sessions out the door for more picks. For all of the Cavaliers foolish decisions (no pun intended) in the past, they, just like Denver, Minnesota and Utah, realize that for smaller less attractive markets they have to build through the draft. I for one do not believe there will be a franchise tag during the new CBA for plenty of reasons. I do, however, believe the rookie contracts will be much longer keeping the young talent in the cities that drafted them and away from the open market. For Cleveland this is the only hope they have in rebuilding. Finding young undervalued players (Sessions) and drafting promising guys like Hickson and move forth with a youth movement. We all must realize free agency isn’t the only way to build a contender in this league.

  6. savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Cleveland absolutly loves Mo Williams….as a person. He folded almost every single time we really needed him. Moon did nothing for us other then team comedian. Davis and Williams probably have just as many flaws yet you seem to indicate that Mo is more capable of turning them around with no real basis for your reasoning….

    This isn’t a great trade at all. We get another 2011 pick, which could be gold (trade bait/good talent) or could be silver (average non-impact player drafted). Either way, Cavs upgraded. There is no where to go but up.

  7. SmackSaw - Feb 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Whoa! The Clippers actually fleeced somebody.

  8. jimsjam33 - Feb 24, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    This is a shocker ! Baron Davis was playing the best ball of his life and he was a great tutor for Blake Griffin . If the trade was to free up money for next season we better see Tayshaun Prince or Danilo Gallinari in a Clipper uniform next season . What about a point guard? Eric Bledsole is not ready and Foye is not a big game type. We’re the one’s who need Chris Paul or Deron Williams for next season . C,mon Clippers you are only a player or two away fron being a playoff contending team for next season . You have the best Center -Power Forward combination in the NBA . Eric G. ordon is for real . Point Guard and small forward ?

  9. Colin Zvosec - Feb 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Here’s how this should be viewed:

    The Cavaliers are not going to the playoffs this year. They aren’t winning very much for the next 5 years. Mo Williams provides absolutely nothing of value to the team, and he would not be re-signed. The Cavaliers just shipped him out for an UNPROTECTED LOTTO PICK. This draft is “weak,” sure. But its weak in superstars. There are some good players in this draft that can be building blocks for the future.

    Baron Davis? Irrelevant. Absolutely doesn’t matter who the Cavs were bringing back in this deal. Honestly, it might as well have been Mo Williams for Mo Williams, the main point is that they got a lottery pick. Besides, Baron’s contract ends the same year as Mo’s (anyone who thinks Mo won’t take those player options is crazy).

    For those keeping track at home, the Cavaliers acquired Mo Williams by trading away Damon Jones and Joe Smith (who they got back anyway). So, essentially, the Cavaliers turned Damon Jones into a lottery pick.

    Going back to Baron… does anyone think he’ll finish his contract with the team anyway? He’ll play 2.5 years (not including this half season) with the Cavs tops before getting moved at the deadline again.

    The fact of the matter is the Cavs had very little to move forward with (almost nothing). With this deal, they will have two young guys they build for the future with. The only way I can see people viewing this as a failure for the Cavs is if they actually think the main target was Baron. It clearly wasn’t, and the Cavs even said that.

    (As for the Clips, I liked it too. Mo sucks, but if they can dump him, then they will have room for Deron Williams. And I honestly think he’s nearly a lock for LA.)

    • savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:07 PM

      I love this comment. You bring up a great point, we had nothing to move forward with. This opens the door now to a lot of potential. But, of course the media looks at it as another mess up by the Cavs.

  10. calis32 - Feb 24, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    This article is typical of the national media bashing of anything Cleveland. Yeah, Mo Williams and Jamario Moon were gonna win Cleveland a championship.

    Davis is what he is and this team does not need to worry about salary cap space since nobody is going to want to sign here anyway. This team will build through the draft and trades. As others have said, it is about cap flexibility. Cavs can flip Baron’s expiring contract later for a player with greater value. Plus, the Cavs get another lottery pick player. If that player ends up being better than Mo or Moon, how is this a bad deal? This article is incredibly short sighted.

  11. dannymac17 - Feb 24, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    as a clippers fan, you hate to lose a draft pick

    but if it means shedding baron davis, you can take 2 of them. LOL

  12. bballing0416 - Mar 8, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    You are the dumbest thing on Earth if you think that Baron Davis (Cavs) is a bad decision. You are aware that Cleveland can pass up this year’s draft. If u follow the National Basketball Association at all you will know that they give the teams an option to pass this years draft. If you Follow the Cleveland Cavaliers at all you would have heard the owner say that they could have made a good team this year, But instead he said we don’t want a good team, we want a great team. How about you do a little re-search before you take the time to write a “Bull-Shit” article. I could see if Baron Davis came up to you and said, “This is a horrible decision for the cavaliers, I mean who wants a 2 time all star and a first round pick right?” Thats right bitch…LETS GO CAVS!!!!!

  13. Colin Zvosec - May 17, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    So not only did this get the Cavs the #1 pick, but Baron has turned out to be everything we wanted Mo Williams to be: a real point guard.

    Like I’ve said from day 1, the Cavs won this trade. They won it by a mile.

  14. cavsfaithful13 - May 18, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    HAHA. This is going to be all over the place, and you are going to be recognized as the biggest joke of an “NBA columnist” to have ever graced us. What a terrible piece of writing.

    “This is why they are the Cavs…”

    What are you talking about? This is why the Cavs have been better than the Clippers for the last… oh… 10 years? This is why the lottery pick has turned in to a #1 overall pick? This is why the Cavs are going to be better than the Clippers THIS year?

    But hey, the Cavs got Baron Davis, they are clearly the losers of this trade.

  15. jcustunner - May 19, 2011 at 5:55 AM

    Hey Kurt, care to take the time to issue a mea culpa on this one? The draft is weaker than average, but it still contains talent in the top 10. All drafts do. The onus is on Cleveland to make the CORRECT picks, but your article from February takes cheap shots at an organization that consistently tried to appease their superstar from 2004 to 2010 only to have him leave them with nothing but table scraps to rebuild with. As a writer, you took the easy way out with your lede to this story and should be embarrassed by such lazy writing.

    The Cavs took on a big contract on a team in total rebuild mode. Since you probably get paid to write this drivel, you’re probably aware that when Baron’s contract is an expiring one and the Cavs are continuing to rebuild, they will be able to package him to get more assets down the line.

    Cleveland’s doing this the exact right way and following the same blueprint that has put OKC in the Western Conference finals with two stars under 25. Keep in mind that the Cavs needed THREE SEASONS with LeBron to make the playoffs. This offseason is the first logical step in the rebuild. You can’t simply replace a once in a generation talent like LeBron, but they have an owner who will spend to make it happen, including taking on a larger contract like that of Davis, and will be adding two 22 and under future starters to the team. I liked the trade when I thought the Cavs would land two top ten picks. It looks better now, but it was good then.

    Mo Williams quit trying when LeBron left and was quoted as saying he contemplated retirement. He needed a change of scenery because he’s clearly not a leader. He got that, and in turn, the Clippers have a slightly cheaper point guard. He’ll be mediocre in LA next year with the occasional decent game. Moon will be valuable in a D-League dunk contest.

    The Cavs front office is doing a better job of executing the tasks they’re paid for than you are Kurt.

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