OAKLAND — As the hours tick down to a draft that will start the ball rolling on the Warriors' potentially franchise-changing offseason, they can be sure of one thing: Star point guard Baron Davis will remain under contract for 2008-09.
But that doesn't guarantee he'll be wearing a Golden State uniform when the season begins.
A team source said that Davis has told teammates he will not exercise the opt-out provision in his contract before its June 30 expiration date, meaning that he will play out the final year of the deal at a salary of $17.8 million.
Todd Ramasar, Davis' agent, would only say Tuesday that "it's not likely" his client will opt out, but the source said Davis was "realistic" about the difficulty in recouping that guaranteed money in a free-agent market that is not especially flush with cash.
The threat of an opt out was one of the few pieces of leverage Davis had in talks with the Warriors regarding a contract extension, but it did not spur the team into action. The sides were far apart in terms of numbers when they sat down last month, and although the dialogue has continued, it appears the two sides remain similarly disconnected at this point.
Given that stalemate, it's possible that Davis, who wants to stay in the Bay Area but was disappointed with the lowball offers from the Warriors, will ask to be dealt. And the team source said that the Detroit Pistons, rebuffed initially in their attempts to pry forward Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets, are now looking at Davis as a potential target.
Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president of basketball operations, gave notice after losing the Eastern Conference finals that no one on his veteran-laden team would be safe, and the source said Detroit is willing to divest itself of longtime stars Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups.
Wallace, like Davis an unrestricted free agent after '08-09, would give the Warriors their best true power forward since Chris Webber's first stint in 1993-94 and has 3-point range that coach Don Nelson would love.
And the inclusion of Billups, who has been made more expendable by the emergence of rookie Rodney Stuckey last season, would ease any concerns from Nelson about the point guard position. Although Nelson thinks Monta Ellis eventually needs to move to point guard, he played him primarily at shooting guard on offense last season, allowing Davis to quarterback the team.
Since Wallace and Billups will combine to take home nearly $25 million in 2008-09, the Warriors would need to add more salary ballast to Davis in order to make the salary-cap numbers work.
One possibility in that role would be forward Al Harrington. A source close to the 10th-year forward said he is currently leaning toward requesting a trade from the Warriors this summer, although he will not make a final decision until after the draft.
Harrington clearly was frustrated at being bounced in and out of the lineup by Nelson last season and at being asked to become a 3-point specialist on offense. His role could become even more diminished if Nelson follows through with his current plan of bringing second-year forward Brandan Wright into the rotation.
Notes: A Warriors representative said the team has heard nothing from Kosta Perovic or his agent to back up overseas media reports that the second-year center was looking to jump from the NBA back to the Euroleagues with Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv. ... Signups for the Warriors summer camps and Davis' own program are now open. The team camp still has eight sessions spread over July and August. Check warriors.com or call (510) 986-5310 for more information. Davis' camp will run from July 21-25. Sign up at rsoa.net. ... KNBR will broadcast an hour-long Warriors Roundtable from team headquarters on Thursday, beginning at 9 p.m.
Contact Geoff Lepper at firstname.lastname@example.org.