What to do with Glen Davis
|06.20.11 at 4:37 pm ET|
MEDFORD — Of all the Celtics free agents, perhaps the trickiest decision involves Glen Davis. On the one hand Davis is an unrestricted free agent and so the decision does not lie with the team alone. On the other, the Celtics are in desperate need of big bodies with only Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal under contract for next season.
In his fourth season with the team Davis emerged as a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate after averaging a career-high 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and playing almost 30 minutes a night. Davis was often on the floor at the end of games and seemed to have found himself in the perfect situation to utilize his unique skill-set. Yet things became complicated in the postseason when he averaged just 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 39 percent.
“I pride myself on playing good basketball, especially when you need it,” Davis said on Monday after a team-sponsored charity event. “Every postseason I’ve played tremendously good to the point where it was like, wow, and this [spring] it didn’t happen. Because I felt mentally I wasn’t ready and prepared enough for what was in front of me. It affected the way I played and that’s what I’ve been doing this offseason, concentrating on that and making sure postseasons like this don’t happen to me.”
In an interview with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan after the season, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that he thought Davis was affected by his upcoming free agency. While acknowledging his own poor play, Davis also responded to Rivers. “I know Doc talks a lot. I don’t pay attention to that,” Davis said. “That’s what he does. That’s Doc. He loves to talk.”
Davis said that he has thought about leaving Boston, but that ultimately he wants to be in a position where he can be himself.
“I can’t perform the way I need to perform if I’m not Glen Davis,” he said. “I need to be in a situation where I can be Glen Davis. If it’s here with the Celtics or with somebody else. I just want to make sure I’m Glen Davis.”
Asked if he could be “Glen Davis” in Boston, he said, “It just depends on the system, the people who are around the system. Who’s going to let Glen Davis be Glen Davis, not make Glen Davis something that they think he should be. Glen Davis is Glen Davis. Everyone knows who Glen Davis is. You’ve seen Glen Davis play the game like it’s supposed to be played.”
On the surface there doesn’t appear to be much hope for Davis to remain with the Celtics. After the team was eliminated in Miami, he said that he wanted the chance to be a starter. That’s not happening with the Celtics, at least not with Garnett here for at least one more season.
But once you cut through the rhetoric — and the third person — the Celtics are still the right fit for Davis and he is for them. The Celtics need someone to back-up Garnett and O’Neal and there’s 30 minutes and 10 shots a night for that someone. His name may not be called in pregame introductions, but those are starter’s minutes and the Celtics gave him a starter’s responsibility by having him close games.
A new labor agreement will help clarify matters for both Davis and the Celtics. Under the old rules, the Celtics would have been able to use their Bird rights to make him a strong offer. If those rights are modified (or even eliminated) under a new collective bargaining agreement, then the team may have no choice but to let him walk. By the same token if the league adopts a harder salary cap, Davis may not find the opportunity to go anywhere else.
“You don’t know,” Davis said. “You don’t like that feeling but at the same time you just got to wait it out be humble, be patient, just wait. It’s not under my control.”
Davis was in Medford as part of a charitable effort by the Celtics and RE/MAX of New England called the home court makeover. Three families were awarded a driveway and court resealing, a new basket stanchion, backboard, scoreboard and a ball rack. (Disclosure: I was part of the committee that picked the winning entries.)
First up was the Donlan family, nominated by its 18-year-old cousin Timothy Stevens, who is confined to a wheelchair. Davis played one-on-one with the kids and then conducted a free basketball clinic at the Medford Boys & Girls Club with Cedric Maxwell.