The Brooklyn Nets scored one of the best value additions last summer when they got center Ed Davis for the biannual exception. He wants to stay, and should.
In a free agency period when the Los Angeles Lakers snaring LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors adding All-Star DeMarcus Cousins on a low-budget deal dominated the headlines, the Brooklyn Nets quietly made one of the biggest value signings of last summer.
The Nets got backup big man Ed Davis on the one-year, $4.49 million biannual exception and he has dramatically played above that level.
Davis, a former lottery pick of the Toronto Raptors now in his ninth NBA season, is averaging a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game for the Nets, despite averaging just 17.8 minutes per game.
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His 16.2 offensive rebounding percentage leads the NBA and his overall rebounding percentage of 22.1 is second, behind Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat (22.3).
Davis leads Brooklyn with 3.1 offensive rebounds per game and is just fractionally behind the youngster he backs up, Jarrett Allen, for the team lead at 8.2 rebounds per game overall.
Davis has also been a terrific influence on Allen, who has said repeatedly that his improvements as a rebounder this season have come partly as a result of just watching Davis do his job.
The 29-year-old veteran will be a free agent once again next summer, but if it were up to him, he’d remain in Brooklyn. He likes what he sees, per Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
"“Honestly, I think about free agency. But I try to live in the moment, enjoy the season, take it one game at a time, enjoying Brooklyn, enjoying New York, instead of thinking about next year, 10 years down the line, retirement, things like that.“Obviously, I want to be back. I said that so hopefully it works out in the summer. But my main focus is just try to help this team and make the playoffs. Good things happen when you win and you make the playoffs — that’s just my mindset. And if we do that, everything works out.”"
The Nets enter Friday where they left off after Wednesday’s double-overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets — ninth in the Eastern Conference and a half-game behind seventh-place Charlotte and eighth-place Miami in the playoff hunt.
They trail the sixth-place Detroit Pistons by a game and can jump past the Hornets with a win at Charlotte Friday night to sweep the teams’ home-and-home set.
Should the Nets make the postseason, Davis would be one of their more experienced postseason players with his 30 playoff games with the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers.
The roster is not rich with playoff experience at this point. Besides Davis’ 30 games, the Nets have DeMarre Carroll (57 career playoff games), Jared Dudley (29), Allen Crabbe (17), Kenneth Faried (12), Shabazz Napier and Joe Harris (six each) and Spencer Dinwiddie (one).
The roster totals 158 games of playoff experience. For some perspective on that, James is the NBA’s active leader with 239 games played in the postseason, Tony Parker of the Hornets has 226 (all with the San Antonio Spurs) and Dwyane Wade of Miami has 177.
Davis has earned the respect of the locker room. Dinwiddie says Davis may not be vocal, but when he talks it has weight.
"“He’s a real dude, man. When you carry yourself like that, you get a lot of respect and obviously every single day, every single night he’s bringing 100 percent effort.”"
Nets general manager Sean Marks has managed to cobble together a nice young core in Brooklyn despite working without premium draft picks, but the veteran voices and leaders he’s added have played a key role in the maturation of this team.
Because Davis signed a one-year deal last summer, the Nets won’t have Bird rights to work with, meaning re-signing the veteran will have to be done with cap space.
It’s an investment worth making, both for the sake of continuity and as a reward for that personification of good old Brooklyn grit Ed Davis has brought to the Nets.