It's barely June, and already Baron Davis has had a lousy summer.
First, he watched from the bench as the Warriors' bid for a postseason berth crapped out in Phoenix. Then his agent failed to interest the team in a contract extension.
Sure, Davis has spent some quality hangin' time recently with Adam Sandler, and there's no doubt he'll wind up courtside during at least one NBA Finals game in the coming fortnight.
But then Don Nelson returned from his Maui holiday with three proclamations:
If Davis is smart, he's buying about one-third of what Nelson is selling. Two-thirds, tops.
The part about Nellie coming back to fulfill the final year of his three-year contract? That's not necessarily a bad thing for Davis. Nelson coaches the kind of up-tempo crazyball Davis likes to play. The two have worked reasonably well together the past two seasons.
There is the prickly issue of last season's elimination game, in which Nelson left Davis to assume The Thinker's pose on the bench the entire second half. Believe them if they say that incident is over. Not so much if they say it's forgotten.
The part where the young guys play more? In one respect, such a change would be good for Davis,
To borrow a line that Barrack Obama borrowed from someone else: This is Baron's time. He's 29, in the prime of his career, a card-carrying difference-maker. He's looking for another handful of playoff skins and playing for his next contract.
The Warriors' new world order suggests he'll have a difficult time achieving either lofty goal here. His play for an extension is dead in the water. As for bailing on the final year of his contract, things have changed since last fall, when Davis was threatening to drop the opt-out hammer.
"In the next two weeks, I'm going to make a decision if I will re-sign, or play the season out and be a free agent," he said 36 weeks ago. The Warriors didn't blink and he didn't re-sign. He still has 24 days in which to opt-out. But given that he would be walking away from a guaranteed $17 million, don't hold your breath.
So the guy who isn't used to being vulnerable to the trap, finds himself trapped. Interestingly, the Warriors stand to benefit short-term, should Davis decide to honor the final year of his contract and dedicate his season to making a case for another whopper of a payday. Long-term? It's easy to imagine the professional relationship between Davis and the Warriors growing frostier by the minute.
But even if it wasn't — or isn't — Davis can't be thrilled to hear that the Warriors now consider player development a priority on par with winning real games.
That suggests Nelson and Chris Mullin have touched heads and decided the Warriors are not a finished product. That would be an astute judgment, by the way. The 48 games they won last season would be beyond top-end as expectations go, and even that didn't get them into the postseason.
In other words, there isn't much percentage in the status quo.
No matter how unassailable the logic, it can't be what a guy who wants to win yesterday wants to hear. But then, that's been a theme for Davis this offseason.
Add this to the theme: Based on the money his peers — Gilbert Arenas and Steve Nash to name two — are making, Davis may be hard-pressed to equal the six-year, $84 million deal that expires this month or at the end of next season, depending.
On the bright side, critics of "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" say Adam Sandler has never been funnier. Hey, in basketball, as in life, you take your jollies where you find them.
Contact Gary Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.