As the story goes, Baron Davis worked out a three-year, $39 million extension with Golden State general manager Chris Mullin in June 2008. The deal would have prevented Davis from opting out of his $18 million salary for 2008-09, bringing a four-year total salary to $57 million for the All-Star point guard, a nearly perfect fit in Don Nelson's wailing offense.
But team president Robert Rowell vetoed the deal last minute, which caused Davis to opt out. The Warriors, shocked, threw money at Elton Brand (nope) and then Gilbert Arenas. The offer to Gil, a player coming off an injury that had claimed 18 months of service? Five years for $103 million. Arenas and Davis are friends. Soon after Golden State made the offer to Gil, the friends spoke. Monte Poole of the San Jose Mercury News has the post-dated dispatch.
Within minutes, Davis and Arenas, buddies from the days when they were teen-agers on the playgrounds of Los Angeles, were on the phone comparing offers and stunned by the Warriors' practices.
"Absolutely true," Davis said. "I talked to Gilbert about it." Davis was less than thrilled to hear the Warriors suddenly had plenty of money for players not named Baron Davis, when as BD says now, without evident bitterness, "They could have had me for less than half of that."
Basically, it would have cost the Warriors an extra $46 million for one extra year of service, not figuring for luxury tax. This is astounding. Davis at $13 million a year was too high a risk ... but Brand and Arenas -- two players coming off major injuries -- weren't too risky at $18 million and $20.6 million, respectively.
Of course, Arenas declined and took a smaller annual salary (with a longer contract) to stay in Washington. Golden State spent the money on Corey Maggette (who became instantly untradable) and Ronny Turiaf. Davis ... well, OK, things haven't worked out for anyone involved.
The thrust of Poole's column speaks to the simply catastrophic state the Warriors find themselves in, thanks largely to the politicking and incoherence of one Don Nelson. Read it, read it again. Fear your franchise next.
Baron Davis, Gilbert Arenas and a Big Ol' Gap in Golden State's Bidding originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Tue, 17 Mar 2009 23:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.