Baron Davis gets dapper on the Knicks bench (Jim McIsaac/ Getty).
Last May, Baron Davis suffered a very serious knee injury, the sort that made it look like his career was over. Somewhat surprisingly, Davis has plans to come back. Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that he's now a free agent, and teams aren't much interested in signing a rehabbing 33-year-old who hasn't yet proven that he's healthy enough to succeed in the NBA. If Davis is going to play again, it's been unclear how he would stick around the league in the interim.
Baron Davis will have a multi-faceted role with the Knicks this season: He will spend some time around the team in an advisory role; he will work with Madison Square Garden's "Garden of Dreams" Foundation; he's expected to provide content for MSG's in-game entertainment and he may do some scouting for the team, according to two sources with knowledge of Davis' agreement with the Knicks. [...]
He's currently an unrestricted free agent, but the veteran point guard has maintained close ties with the team. He's spent a significant time rehabbing his injury at the team facility and he maintains a close relationship with several players.
Management approached Davis about working around the team during the offseason, and Davis agreed. Davis will not sit on the bench during games and is not expected to have an official title within the organization.
Davis's assumption, I suppose, is that he would then be in line to get a contract offer from the Knicks if and when he's able to play again. That would seem likely, given this arrangement, although it's always hard to know how things will change many months from now. That's especially true of the Knicks, a franchise that seems to change its long-term plan every week. Oh, and don't forget that veteran point guards Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and Pablo Prigioni are already under contract. There might not be an obvious spot for Davis on the roster.
Nevertheless, this is a good spot for Davis, in part because he's always harbored interests outside of basketball as it's played on the court. In recent years, Davis has ventured into the realms of film production and fashion, and he's a fantastic spokesman for various charitable causes. Having Davis work in community outreach makes a lot of sense. He might even be better at that than he is at basketball at this point in his career.
The question, ultimately, is if this arrangement helps Baron get closer to another spot in the NBA or simply helps him transition into post-retirement life. The latter will certainly happen, even if Davis was well prepared for it already. His basketball readiness, on the other hand, probably depends on questions about his rehab that won't be answered for quite some time.
- Sports & Recreation