With a couple seemingly minor moves in the NBA yesterday, the market for big men and especially Glen Davis just got a heck of a lot more interesting. Let’s break down the moves and see how they could potentially drive the price tag for Big Baby up which would go along with decreasing the likelihood the Celtics will be able to retain his services by matching a high priced offer.
Move #1: Detroit trades SG Aaron Afflalo, PF Walter Sharpe and cash to Denver for a future 2nd round pick.
The deal was made here for a couple simple reasons as far as the Pistons were concerned. First off with the signing of Ben Gordon, it created a crowded backcourt situation for the team with Richard Hamilton all ready signed long term. That reality created no major minutes left for Afflalo who was shipped out of town to help Denver replace Dhantay Jones who fled to Indiana for a 4 year 11 million dollar deal.
The second and more important reason the deal was made as far as the Celtics are concerned, was the additional cap space that was created for the Pistons with the trade. Afflalo and Sharpe’s salary combine to make up 1.8 million, and by not dealing for a player in return, that was the amount Joe Dumars was able to reduce the team’s number under the salary cap, which now stands at 4.9 million according to Dan Feldman over at PistonPowered.com.
By dealing Sharpe, this deal also left Detroit extremely thin on the front line, leaving it with only three players who could be considered as power forward/centers in Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell, and Kwame Brown. Thus it seems Detroit will be going after one, if not two big man free agents out there and it has been widely reported that one of those players will be Glen Davis.
From the Celtics perspective, it can’t be encouraging for them to see Detroit stockpiling cap space, increasing the odds that they will make an offer to Davis that the C’s will be unwilling to match. The Celtics have been smart waiting it out with Big Baby thus far, trying to let a seemingly down market drive down Baby’s price and suitors as many teams (San Antonio, Orlando, Memphis) looked elsewhere to fill their big man needs.
According to Gary Tanguay, Danny Ainge has placed a dollar value on Big Baby’s worth. Last year we witnessed firsthand Danny’s reluctance to overpay for a role player in the form of James Posey. In my estimation, the signing of Rasheed Wallace made the need for the Celtics to bring back Big Baby a bit less pressing since Rasheed will be able to log major minutes at the 4 and 5 spots. If they have to overpay Davis (5 million over several years) to keep him here, Wallace in town made the chances of that happening a bit less likely.
More after the jump
The C’s are well over the luxury tax as it is, so it is clear that while the team does want to bring Baby back, they will only do it if the price is right. If the C’s don’t bring back Davis, there are still affordable free agent options out there at the big man spots albeit not ones as attractive as Davis. Realistically though whoever the C’s bring in as a fifth big man (Scalabrine being the 4th) would only have to go 10-15 minutes a game barring injury since Rasheed will eat up the bulk of the bench big man minutes.
Given the assumption that there are no major injury problems, (a realistic concern given KG and Rasheed’s age) it would be unwise for the C’s to invest too much money in the backup 4 spot when Glen’s minutes would be limited thanks to the depth chart.
It has to worry fans that want Big Baby back in green that Joe Dumars has shown the willingness to overpay at bit this offseason to get his guys (Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva). Now that he has the cap room to offer Big Baby a significant deal at a little under 5 million a year, if he does give Davis a long term contract at that number, the C’s will have to think long and hard about matching it. There are really no other big men on the open market right now that could command that kind of money, so it seems only a matter of time before Dumars makes Glen the big money offer he has been waiting for.
Numbers wise in my estimation, Glen is not worth the 5 million a year on this team and the team would be better served to sign a lower price short term alternative to fill Big Baby’s role. Perhaps, someone like a Joe Smith, Drew Gooden, or Rasho Nesterovic could fill Baby’s spot. Those guys are downgrades to be sure, but will be a lot cheaper and could be had for only a year or two commitment. Before we finish this up, let’s take a look at a 2nd move from Monday that could affect the C’s pursuit of those guys.
Move #2 Orlando Magic retain Marcin Gortat after matching the Mavericks’ 5 year/34 million offer sheet.
The loss of Gortat hurts the Mavs depth right now more than you might imagine. The non-signing and loss of Brandon Bass (4 years/18 million) to the Magic leaves the Mavs current roster with a very thin front line bench. After Dampier and Nowitzki it consists of Shawn Marion as a potential undersized 6th man at the 4 (he might start anyway over Howard) and a couple of throw-ins (Kris Humphries and Nathan Jawai) they received to make the salaries work in the Marion deal.
I mention this only because their need for big man could drive up the market for the big man free agents I mentioned earlier if the C’s were to lose Big Baby. Heck, they could even potentially get in on the Big Baby sweepstakes even though Mark Cuban denied they had any interest in him a few months back. With fewer options now, Cuban may have to reconsider although he could try to fill the void with a trade as well.
So I guess my question to everyone as I work through all these potential scenarios is what exactly is Big Baby worth to you? Zach Lowe took an eye opening look at Big Baby’s numbers and performance on the floor this past year, which should help everyone in coming to a conclusion.
Knowing that should ownership match a 5 million dollar offer at 3 plus years if it comes at the expense of better players to fill the backup small forward and point guard spots? Is Big Baby actually worth five million? What price tag would you put on him? And would you consider signing and trading Davis to fill a more pressing need (backup SF) on the team if it was likely you were going to lose him anyway? I’m curious to hear everyone’s opinion on this as it appears likely to shake itself out sooner than later.