In what will be the biggest free agent signing in Los Angeles Clipper history, the team has reached a verbal agreement with Baron Davis on a 5-year $65 million contract. Later today, the LA Times reported that the Clippers are now expected to re-sign Elton Brand.
The two moves make the Clippers a very relevant team in the NBA. For the first time, they have legitimate superstar player who can move the needle here in Los Angeles. Davis is an LA native, and I absolutely love his game. Stealing him from the Golden State Warriors is a coup. He brings playmaking ability that the Clippers have never had, he's a terrific complement to Brand, and he allows the Clippers to bring Eric Gordon along slowly.
Still, while Davis is a great player, he has a history of injuries, and he doesn't necessarily guarantee the Clippers a playoff berth in a conference where Portalnd is much improved, Denver, Utah, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio, New Orleans, and Dallas are pretty darned good too, and the Lakers are still LA's team. But this move is a major shot in the arm for a franchise that sorely needed one. The Clippers are now certainly in the mix with the other good Western Conference teams, and it's hard for them to ask for a whole lot more.
Over the years, people have criticized Donald Sterling for refusing to spend money on players in an effort to pocket profits. But that criticism hasn't been accurate recently. Sterling is now paying large contracts to Chris Kaman, Cuttino Mobley, Tim Thomas, and now Brand and Davis. He was also paying a large contract to Corey Maggette. Now all of those contracts aren't necessarily great, but it's awfully hard to say Sterling is cheap these days. Give him credit for spending money and trying to improve the product on the court.