Baron Davis Hoping to Return this Season
Over the weekend, Baron Davis hosted his 3rd Annual Kickball Game to benefit the Rising Stars of America. While Davis, a free agent of the New York Knicks, is currently recovering from a significant knee injury, he looked trim and healthy considering how badly he was hurt.
“I’m feeling good, getting there,” Davis said on Sunday. “A lot of rehab. A lot of rehab. My summer is just consisting of rehabbing, focusing in on this foundation and these kids and doing as much good as I possibly can with my time off.”
A source close to Davis said he intends to return to the league this season.
Given he tore the ACL and MCL of his right knee back in May, a recovery any time sooner than a full year may be a stretch but Davis is committed to getting back in the league. It just might take another season for that to happen.
The Rising Stars of America helps provide mentors, resources and support for children’s athletics and education.
“It’s great to be able to do something like this and bring people together, especially people that I’ve known for a long time and grown up with,” said Davis. “To come together for a great cause, to benefit kids throughout the greater Los Angeles community, it’s really a testament to all of the people here: All of the volunteers and people who sponsored the event. It’s just another great day for the community to get together and do something good.”
Davis called on a long list of friends including NBA colleagues DeAndre Jordan, Nick Young, Dorell Wright, J.R. Smith, Matt Barnes, Chase Budinger, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Craig Smith, Corey Maggette, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Trevor Ariza and Kenneth Faried.
“You’ve got to support the Boom Dizzle,” said Maggette. “We’re just out here supporting him. Baron does a lot for this community, definitely for UCLA. We’re all here to help him out. It’s just a great thing.”
“It’s big,” said Davis on a big NBA turn-out. “That’s what I’m all about. Each one of these people will tell you that because I show up and do things for them as well. We’re a brotherhood. We’re a family. It’s just an honor to be a part of it.”
The event also attracted a number of celebrities including Laura Govan, Michael Ealy, Donald Faison, Kyla Pratt, Josh Hopkins, Jay Harrington and many others.
DeAndre Jordan Happy with Clippers’ Offseason
The Los Angeles Clippers had an active offseason, acquiring Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, Grant Hill, Willie Green, Ronny Turiaf and Ryan Hollins.
“We’ve been making some moves, adding some pieces that are definitely going to help us make it to that next level,” said center DeAndre Jordan. “It’s definitely been a good offseason for us.’
The Clippers also re-signed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups.
“It’s great man just for Chauncey,” said Jordan. “He bring so much to our team in leadership, playoff experience and also coaching. Us bringing him back is really important for our team.”
Billups missed most of the season with an Achilles’ injury but intends to be ready for opening night (although that is still tentative). Despite having to sit out, Billups was an active participating with team through their playoff run.
“He was on the bench giving everyone pointers, talking to [Coach Vinny Del Negro], all the coaches, giving us all advice, talking to [Chris Paul],” said Jordan. “Just kind of coaching us throughout the game, it helped us win that Memphis series.”
The Clippers have an interesting mix of veteran players and athletes.
“We’ll definitely be able to throw different looks at teams,” said Jordan. “Not just being able to run the floor but also being able to have a halfcourt offense and be able to get a bucket down in the fourth quarter time, when we need a bucket in the halfcourt, when we can’t get a lob or fastbreak layup. Bringing those guys in is definitely going to help our team a lot.”
Individually, Jordan is hoping to add to his offensive game, specifically in the post.
“[I'm] working on my offensive game a lot. I’ve gotten with [Coach Marc] Iavaroni and a number of other coaches and ex-players, trying to improve my game as much as possible to help us out this upcoming season,” said Jordan. “Post moves, free throws obviously, putting in a lot of time on that. I’m ready for the start of season.”
The Clippers open the season on October 31st at home against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Craig Smith to Jerusalem
After spending last year with the Portland Trail Blazers, Craig Smith has signed to play for Hapoel Migdal in Jerusalem next season.
Smith has spent six years in the NBA, but is looking forward to a new experience.
“It’s something different,” said Smith. “It’s an opportunity to go somewhere that I think is a good setting for me, as far as getting the opportunity to play big minutes and show people that I can play.”
“I think it’s going to be more a rebirth, which is cool, in a biblical sense, since it’s in Jerusalem,” continued Smith. “I’m excited about it and the ball club is excited about it. It was a good decision.”
Smith’s long-term goal is to get back into the NBA. After playing a couple of years with the Los Angeles Clippers in a steady bench role, he didn’t get much of an opportunity to play in Portland.
“I want to show that I can play 30 minutes and play at a high-caliber level when given the opportunity, and then come back,” said Smith. “I really want to thank [the Blazers] for the opportunity, but I just understood that I was a roster fill-in. They were looking to fill the roster and I just happened to be there. That’s how it worked.”
Instead of tagging onto the end of a roster, Smith sees a brighter future in Jerusalem.
“The same thing probably would’ve happened this year too [in the NBA], but I feel like I really need to play and show what I can do,” said Smith. “I really worked hard on my conditioning this offseason and I really worked on all aspects of my game – mental and physical. It’s just about going out and showcasing it.”
Smith, a Los Angeles native, still gets a lot of support from local Clipper fans.
“I still find a lot of love and I still find a lot of people reaching out. I’m thankful for being a part of the Clippers,” said Smith. “I mean, I’m from here and to have that opportunity and to have that support from the fan-base, it really felt good. It still feels good to this day, knowing that they still like me and hearing them say they wish I could come back. And I would, given the right opportunity.”
Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @EricPincus, @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @joelbrigham, @alexraskinNBA, @TommyBeer and @YannisHW.