Baron Davis opts out


What promised to be a tumultuous offseason for the Warriors was kicked into overdrive Monday when point guard Baron Davis left $17.8 million on the table and opted out of the final year of his contract, becoming an unrestricted free agent and throwing Golden State’s immediate plans into confusion.

Davis has maintained for months that he wants to remain a Warrior, and according to one team source was telling teammates last week that he would not opt out, but with mere hours to spare the man most responsible for breaking Golden State’s 12-season playoff drought reversed course dramatically.

With talks on a contract extension going nowhere, Davis played the last major piece of leverage he had. Although he is unlikely in the short term to recoup that $17.8 million — the final piece of a six-year max deal he signed with the New Orleans Hornets in 2002 — he can now negotiate a long-term deal with another team to try to set up a sign-and-trade situation.

The move leaves the Warriors with some unexpected room under the salary cap, although the exact amount won’t be known until the team sets its 2008-09 figures next week. Golden State currently has only six players currently under contract — starters Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson, plus untested youngsters Marco Belinelli, Kosta Perovic, C.J. Watson and Brandan Wright — although it holds matching rights on three restricted free agents, including young stars Andris Biedrins and Monta Ellis.

Just got confirmation from the Warriors: Baron Davis, the man who led Golden State to its first playoff berth in 13 seasons, has opted out from the final year of his deal, passing up $17.8 million in order to gain his freedom after talks about an extension went pretty much nowhere.

More to come later.

— Geoff

Geoff Lepper

Geoff Lepper has covered the Warriors since 2005 for the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times. Before that, he covered baseball and college sports for the Marin Independent Journal.

  • Khoee

    warriors will tank..tank for rubio..warriorsworld.net..

  • tacobellwwnet


  • Star B

    Is there S&T possibility with Clippers for Brand? Can’t believe both guys just happened to opt out at the same time unless both guys have something cooking for them to walk away from that much money…

  • Greg

    I can’t believe it got to this point number one. And number two I can’t believe they didn’t use the TE. But can we expect anything else from this franchise?

  • Greg

    It’s sad. It really is.

  • Jon N

    its not a coincidence they both opted out at the same time…the deadline to do it is tonight

  • LosT

    Sign the kid from Sacramento…

  • file room boy

    If Maggette signs with another team the Clips probably have enough cap room to sign both Baron Davis and Elton Brand. Wonder what Davis has up his sleeve.

  • Josh

    I hope Brand doesn’t put the clippers 12-16 million below the cap. They area already around 10 million before. Although I could live with a sign and trade I don’t think it’s going to happen. But only the clippers can pay Baron and he loves LA. So here’s to crossing fingers and hoping for Baron or at least some compensation. Also wondering what this potentially does to the W’s cap.

  • Niners in 2009

    Lets sign Baron and Brand, dream scenario!!

  • Steve in Concord

    This last minute opt-out by Baron is a little weird unless something is going on behind the scenes. Maybe we will hear something more about it on the 11 o’clock news. This may not be a unilateral move on Baron’s part after all is said and done.

  • Perplexed

    Speedy, Mookie, Muggsy….where are you guys?

  • commish

    Wow! Rumor has it Brand opted out to resign a longer term deal with the Clippers. Do you think that’s what Baron is up to? I would hope so, but what do you think is plan B if he doesn’t? It just boggles the mind.

  • mei

    Gilbert come back!!

  • Jim in Clayton

    Can the Warriors mess things up any worse?
    The trade exception goes away they only had a year
    to do something.
    Spotty record by Warriors just continues and since
    Mullin took over they haven’t exactly challenged for
    a championship yet.
    Maybe now they can screw up negotiations with Biedrens
    and Ellis. Then it’ll be Jackson Harrington and 2nd year
    guys and rookies left.
    Baron to Clippers is feasible now they can sign Baron 1st
    then resign Brand and there you go they are way under
    the cap with Maggette opting out.

  • Steve

    “I Still Believe!”

  • john

    We need to worry about the Blazers, Hornets, and Sonics, teams that have bright futures. We can’t compete with the Suns or Lakers next year or the year after that anyway. Build through the draft and let this go. We will miss him, but I’d rather let the young guys gain experience.

  • Tony H

    Wow – thanks Baron. If I remember correctly, the Warriors went and got you when your reputation was garbage and they had the faith to give you the keys to the franchise, despite your lousy rep and bad knees. For three years we Warrior fans have ignored what Byron Scott and so many NBA insiders said about your selfishness. Now it’s clear you’re so much talk. Thanks for playing us by waiting until the last minute to opt out and looking out for number one. Mully – a guy whose class you could never understand – believed in you, and is getting screwed. Thanks. We BELIEVED … and you used it to screw us. If there’s any justice in the world, you won’t get anywhere near $17 million and you’ll be negotiating an injury settlement with the Clippers by December.
    I still have faith … in Mullin and Nelson, two old school stand-up guys whom Baron Davis could never approach in class.

  • Joseph

    Geoff or Marcus,

    What will it take for Gilbert Arenas to wear Jersey #0 for the Warriors next season now that this has happened?

  • Perplexed

    I guess that unused Trade Exception isn’t such a big story anymore.

  • BBaller

    On the surface, it looks like the Ws are in disarray. Baron opting out, the $10M TPE expiring with no positive result and key players still unsigned. What’s next?

  • Steve

    I told my friend a month ago that if I were Davis I’d opt out then sign a 1 year deal (for whatever max they could pay) with the Lakers. After he plays a year he could then sign a new deal with the Lakers for the kind of money and years he wanted from the Warriors. The Lakers are missing what Baron could give them, and Davis could win the championship(s) he’s after along with playing where he lives. The Clippers? LOL Wherever he goes it’ll be to a team that’s “championship-ready”, and that ain’t the lowly Clippers. In my opinion, Davis is gone. It’s just a matter of where, and my money says the Lakers make the most sense for all concerned. Too bad, but the Warriors blow it again. Since Nelson returned the Warriors have gotten rid of the expendable players but you don’t let a point guard like Davis leave. He’s in his late 20’s and if he plays at least as long as Nash and Kidd he still has a LOT of years left as one of the top point guards in the NBA. Baron seemed to really enjoy playing here, and he’s got some good friends on this team, but as hard as he played for the Warriors AND as hard as the Warriors played him these last two years, I think Davis was really disappointed when GS wouldn’t extend his contract. Bottom line, he’s made plenty of money to this point in his career, he can afford to play one year for less-than-market if it eventually means a long term mega bucks deal with a REALLY good team. Goodbye Baron, and best of luck.

  • Pablo

    I am from New Orleans Baron has no loyalty for know one he will follow the money. He will never be a the player he should be.

  • mcadoo

    The warriors do not have money for brand. Brand has already said he wants to come back to the clips. And the clippers could give both of them 13 million to start and make annual increases.

    STEVE, , no way can the lakers pay baron davis. The only way lakers would sign baron davis would be to pay him the mid level exception. and to leave 17.4 million to make 6 million ? That’s rediculous. Players only do that as a last chance, before-i-retire run. Money is money. and the lakers are already over the luxury tax. You cant get paid by “championship ready teams”. No one has money, davis is either going to memphis, philly or LA. Where do you think he would go ?

    And there’s no reason to believe the clippers can’t be good with both brand and davis. The clippers could easily get to the playoffs with both. Brand has stated he would be willing to take a paycut if the clippers sign a big free agent. And I don’t know why your talking badly about the clippers but the warriors havnt done much better.

    Warriors Clippers
    34/48 35/47

    34/48 47/35 (with marko JARIC as the starting pg)

    42/40 40/42

    Ok, the warriors played well this year but the clippers were out elton brand and shaun livingston.

    Anyways, I hope brand and davis are in LA next year.

  • Derek

    The W’s front office has and will continue to run like a minor league operation, never going after the big fish.

    They blew the 10 million dollar exemption, and may not get anything for Baron Davis. Man how bad can you F-Up an off season.

    While the Lakers pull off Pau Gasol deals the W’s can’t even sucessfully aquire a brand B guy like James Posey. I’m a fan, however; the W’s run a terrible operation.

  • darkknight01

    If Baron is going to sign with the lowly Clipps then the W’s should look into possible tampering. Lets hope the Warriors make a run at Arenas, if not then Udrih…

    Baron is an idiot to pass up on 17.5 million. haha

    That will come back to bite him.

    The W’s did screw up by not using the trade exception though.

  • darkknight01

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Baron will signs a 1 year deal with the Lakers

  • warrior #1

    You cant blame Baron!! Chris mullin Did this to himself!! Him and Robert Rowell. They disrespected him by offering way below market value, then they choose not to use their trade exemption to add another player!!! Basically they showed me their true colors!!! Cheap skates!! One other thing the Warriors were top 6 last year in revenue brought in, As a 7 year season ticket holder Im done!! Tell me why Chris Mullin deserves to stay!! Sorry but its time to go!! Frustrated in Alameda!!!

  • Steve

    Mcadoo, as great as Elgin Baylor was as a player, he’s been that bad as an NBA GM. The Clippers have never won anything, and even adding Davis, they have, IMO, next-to-no chance of winning a championship anytime soon. Since Don Nelson returned the Warriors have started improving their talent level and are slowly becoming one of the better young teams in the NBA. BUT, they now need to add one or two significant free agents to this team to go along with their younger players if they want to take the next big step towards becoming a legit championship contender. Whether or not they’re able to take that next step remains to be seen. I will admit I’m shocked that Baron would go to the Clippers, but ESPN is now saying it’s all but a done deal. Again, if he had been willing to play for one year at lowball numbers he could have signed anywhere for next season, and that “anywhere” would have been the Lakers for my money. Deion Sanders made plenty of money playing for the Falcons but eventually he decided he wanted to win a Super Bowl so he signed a one year deal for next-to-nothing with the 49’ers and then finished his career with one last big contract in Dallas where he won another Super Bowl to boot. That would have been my line of thinking had I been Davis, but obviously Baron was about the immediate long term deal and money. If the Clippers win a title before the Lakers, or before Baron retires, I’ll be more than amazed. Whatever. Now it’s all about what the Warriors do from here with the money they have to spend. I think they made a mistake not extending Davis’ contract, but it’s apparently too late now. Really good point guards are not exactly a dime-a-dozen. Just ask Warriors fans how long the “drought” was between Timmy Hardaway and Baron Davis.

  • Drunktony

    Well, I must say the Clippers have a guareenteed chance to a playoff spot, if they play as a team and the injuries are cut back. If that happens you can’t ignore the opvious, not to mention the clips have been getting good draft picks for the past two years.

    Last year-Al Thorton
    This year-Eric Gordan, DeAndre Jordan

    You gotta put your pride away and admit, the clips done good.