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Baron Davis executed a crossover move Monday night in deciding to opt out of his current contract, making the Golden State Warriors point guard a free agent.
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WE SHOULD BE grateful for Baron Davis and what he meant to the Warriors' revival.

But we won't be.

He's gone to the evil land down under. He is L.A.'s story, now.

We might understand if he ditched the Warriors — and a $17.8 million paycheck for next season — to vie for a championship with the Lakers, holders of the Western Conference title belt.

But he's left us for the Clippers. Let that sink in for a minute. The Clippers, a franchise that rivaled the Warriors for NBA buffoonery much of the past decades.

The Clippers went 23-59 last season. The Warriors won 25 more games than that. The Clippers have made the playoffs once in the past 11 seasons. The Warriors, well, they've made the playoffs once in the past two seasons (or once in the past 14).

Davis will fit better in L.A. than he ever did here.

He's from South Central L.A., so he's going home, albeit with a nicer Malibu sunset. He has his own Hollywood rat pack. He has movie aspirations. He has a swagger that's so much more SoCal than NorCal.

Instead of carving a legacy here that could trump those of Rick Barry or Nate Thurmond, he reportedly cashed in with the Clippers at $65 million over five years.

The Warriors, wisely, didn't toss him a similar long-term parachute. They're going younger, and locking up Davis so long wouldn't be prudent, not when his knees are a constant worry.

So it's time to shave "The Beard" from the Warriors' rebuilding effort.

It's time to find someone else who'll fill Davis' shoes at point guard, a guy who doesn't necessarily have to attract celebrities to courtside seats ("Price check on Aisle 0 for Gilbert Arenas").

It's time for Monta Ellis to take yet another leap and rule this kingdom, as he showed signs of doing with last season's scoring sprees.

Davis' reign was short. But it was needed. We embraced him once he brought life to the Warriors not long after his February 2005 arrival.

That embrace ended Monday, when he slipped the bank teller a note and said the Warriors' $17.8 million shouldn't be deposited. He wanted more, and he got more.

The Warriors didn't just lose their best player. They lost their point guard. They lost one of the best point guards in their history, and rank him between Tim Hardaway and Eric "Sleepy" Floyd.

Davis had moxie. He had guts. He, more times than not, had what you wanted from a floor leader, especially in that storied 2007 playoff run that included a first-round upset of Dallas and a second-round monster dunk.

But he wasn't perfect. His final games as a Warrior ended badly, from a prolonged shooting slump to an ill-timed stay in coach Don Nelson's doghouse (see: second-half benching during a pivotal game at Phoenix).

His final days weren't stellar, either, what with his sneaky, 11th-hour opting out of his contract.

He was never an All-Star in his three-plus seasons for the Warriors, and there's surely a reason — or two or three — why he's not touring China this summer with Team USA in the Olympics.

But he could drain game-winning shots. He could lead. He could be charismatic. He could charm fans and the media, but he could also turn them off.

After the 2007 playoff run, Davis trumpeted how the Warriors had become an ideal destination for any NBA player. When he reappeared with his teammates before last season, he downplayed talk of his contract and instead happily mingled with the likes of Stephen Jackson, Matt Barnes and Al Harrington.

At 29, the clock is ticking on the prime of Davis' career. This was the payday he needed. So he dared to take an off-balance shot at free agency.

Now it's lights-camera-action for Boom Dizzle (as he refers to himself on his Yardbarker blog, where he's usually name-dropping or bragging about L.A.'s perfect weather).

If the Clippers re-sign Elton Brand, they'll make noise not only in the Western Conference, but they could develop a great intracity rivalry with the Lakers. No need for the NFL in Los Angeles for a couple more years.

Davis knows he'll be playing in Kobe Bryant's shadow. But Davis surely won't hide from the Hollywood spotlight. He'll embrace it, unless the Clippers revert to their classic form of perennial playoff outcast.

Warriors fans shouldn't be speechless. There's another reason to shout: "BEAT L.A.!"

Contact Cam Inman at cinman@bayareanewsgroup.com.