DARTING HERE and there ... Maybe Baron Davis wasn't as smart as so many of us thought. He threw away a great situation in a place where he was mostly revered and pampered for a little more money, only slightly more security and the foolish allure of playing in his hometown.
That plan works if you're going with the Lakers. But with the Clippers, particularly with Elton Brand and Corey Maggette now gone, B.D. probably just signed the death warrant on the rest of his career. He might as well be back in New Orleans.
By next midseason, with the Clippers slogging through a 57-loss season, Davis will be miserable, bored, sullen out, of shape and probably injured. He'll always be in Kobe Bryant's shadow in that town, and we'll see how soon his Hollywood friends will suddenly start misplacing his phone number. Hey, anybody can get Clips courtsides even without knowing the star player. How's this for scary: If you don't count out incoming rookie Eric Gordon, who will require time to acclimate to the NBA, the second-best player on the Clippers roster after Davis is Chris Kaman. Even with Davis playing at his Warriors level, 30 wins is a reach without Brand and Maggette at his side. Meanwhile, looking for much-needed positive spin, Golden State keeps talking up Monta Ellis as the new point guard. Um, sorry, no. Let's not revive the bad Warriors tradition of forcing a great young player into a role in which he simply doesn't fit.
Chris Mullin may not believe his own rhetoric about Ellis. The buzz in Detroit is that the Warriors and Pistons have been talking about a deal involving point guard Chauncey Billups. The Pistons want Andris Biedrins, the Warriors are offering up Al Harrington. Harrington by all means. But Biedrins? No way.
Billups has been mentioned in a number of trade scenarios this offseason — for Tracy McGrady, for Carmelo Anthony, for a possible lottery pick — so a fresh one to the Warriors is certainly plausible. Hard to see Billups in a running style, though, and he will be 32 in September. That said, he would be much preferable to Ellis at the point, and a significant recoup, at least temporarily, for the loss of Davis. If Maggette is simply replacing the Mickael Pietrus/Matt Barnes position on the team, it's a solid signing. If he's the starting No. 2, the W's will be joining the Clippers in the 50-Loss Club and Don Nelson will be back on Maui by December. Rich Harden is gone, and so is most of the remaining enthusiasm of A's fans. More and more I hear the complaint that Billy Beane seems content playing for a winning record as opposed to making a real run at a championship. Tough to dispute in these times.
If you're serious about wanting to win it all, you simply don't trade a talent like Harden, despite the injury and financial concerns he presented. You exhaust every option, but the A's surrendered too early, and it could serve to kill the commendable season they've had so far. If you were an A's player and Harden was traded, wouldn't you interpret it as a white flag. The Cubs are gambling that Harden gives them six awesome starts in the playoffs, and when you haven't won the Series in 100 years, why not take that shot? It should be most compelling today when Harden pitches against the Giants at Wrigley.
Less than two years after they comprised the first all-40 outfield in major league history while with the Giants, it appears Barry Bonds, Steve Finley and Moises Alou are all done now, provided the Arizona Diamondbacks aren't silly or desperate enough to sign Bonds. Alou's torn hamstring probably means the end for him, and Finley was released by Colorado in June.
If nothing else, that development makes Dana Torres' swimming achievements at age 41 that much more amazing. What do you know, "SportsCenter" didn't show two minutes of Michelle Wie highlights before mentioning that Pleasanton native Paula Creamer shot a 60 Thursday in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. Maybe folks are finally wising up to the fact that Wie's a competitive wimp and Creamer's the real deal. Amazingly, Wie shot a 70 in the opening round, a good round for her. Come again, the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic? Yeesh, the name's longer than Jamie's schnozz.
Contact Carl Steward at (510) 293-2451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.