According to Boston.com, the New Orleans Hornets are interested in pursuing Glen “Big Baby” Davis in a sign-and-trade. It’s obvious why New Orleans would want to do this, as their front line could be the least-toughest in the NBA (the heaviest guy on the team is David West who is more of a swingman than a bruising power forward). Davis is also from Louisiana and would be a nice hometown addition. The advantages for the Celtics, however, are less obvious.
Both the Hornets and Celtics are over the salary cap so by sign-and-trade rules, New Orleans can’t receive more than 125% plus $100,000 of their outgoing salary (or salaries). That means in order for this to work, the Celtics could send Big Baby for a combination of Rasual Butler/ Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright.
Rasual Butler is an interesting prospect to back up Paul Pierce. Throughout his career, Butler has been a quintessential glue-guy as well as a spot starter. Last season, he started 73 games last season an averaged 11 points a game per 32 minutes. He’s not flashy, he doesn’t make any highlight reels, but he did shoot nearly 40% from three last season (better numbers than James Jones). At 6’7″, he could come off the bench to spell Pierce and because he’s a threat from three, he could also spell Ray Allen at times. His rebounding numbers are less than ideal but with a lesser, off-the-bench role, he won’t be called upon to rebound, just put the ball in the hole and defend.
Hilton Armstrong is essentially useless for the Celtics. As a Glen Davis replacement, he would be called on to rebound and make midrange jumpers and it appears he can’t do either. Last season he averaged almost 3 rebounds per 15 minutes and the following is a comparison of shot charts (via NBA.com) for Armstrong and Davis:
If you look at these you can clearly see there is no comparison.
Julian Wright is an interesting prospect, but like many of his 2007 NBA Draft early entry counterparts (Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Brandan Wright) right now he’s all hype and no hoop. Besides, it’s doubtful New Orleans would just dump a guy with Wright’s potential. He’s only 22, and could be a lot better than I’m willing to give him credit for.
The only way I see the Celtics doing a deal like this is if they lose Grant Hill to Phoenix or New York and they feel they can get a midrange shooting big man (a la Antonio McDyess). Personally, I like Rasual Butler, but I like Big Baby and Grant Hill better.