"You ever seen a red velvet cupcake?"
That’s not a phrase you expect to be uttered on national television. But if you tuned in Monday night to KG’s Area 21 on TNT and the subsequent Periscope broadcast, that’s what you would have heard coming from Glen "Big Baby" Davis, who sat as comfortably as one can sit in an armchair on the set of Kevin Garnett’s sideshow.
It was a 2008 Boston Celtics reunion, as Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Davis joined Garnett to discuss the ’08 team, what they thought about Kevin Durant going to the Warriors (see quote above), their "sour breakup" with Ray Allen, and the state of the league.
The older an ex-athlete gets, the less he has to lose. So fans get a different level of candor than they previously experienced during their playing days. With all but one of these guys out of the league, the show was an off-the-rails display of honesty and high jinks about 75 percent of the time. KG unsurprisingly was unable to sit still, Rondo said exactly two words and barely moved a muscle, Pierce wore sunglasses while sitting in a wheelchair (a retirement gift from Doc Rivers), and Perkins was somehow able to maintain his tough-guy rep throughout.
There were lots of interesting Celtics-centric musings, but Big Baby’s decision to become Nostradamus and predict where this year’s free agents would end up was a highlight. It wasn’t exactly the best pitch to become either a sports pundit or a front-office executive, but on a night when the Warriors dominated the Jazz and in the midst of a boring second round of the playoffs, it was the must-watch TV of the night
Here’s a summary of Davis’s Big Baby Bombs, with an assessment of what kind of chances his prognostications have of coming true.
Blake Griffin to the Thunder
As Garnett ran through the list of free agents on screen, he was interrupted by Big Baby’s high-pitched voice. "Blake! He out of there! He gone!" Garnett pivoted and asked Davis where he thought Griffin would go. "OKC!" Davis replied promptly. "No way," Perkins refuted.
Analysis: This is a move that has long been thought of as plausible only because Griffin is from Oklahoma and went to college there. But Griffin has also built himself a life filled with comedy clubs, commercials, and a whole lot more celebrity than he could have anticipated in L.A. It doesn’t seem like Oklahoma City, as fine a town as that is, would be his ideal landing spot.
But let’s ignore outside factors for a bit, and say Griffin does want to go back home. The Thunder have a projected $11 million in cap room next season. They’d need to offload some contracts before taking on Griffin, who’d command the max, or try to craft a sign-and-trade situation. Getting rid of Enes Kanter’s $17 million would be a necessary step for the Thunder, but not even Danny Ocean could pull off that kind of heist.
Paul Millsap to the Clippers
Davis also slipped in that he thought the Hawks star would head west to the Clippers. No one seemed to care.
Analysis: If L.A. did let Griffin walk, it could more than double its projected cap room and sign Millsap. I don’t know how you feel about exchanging a 28-year-old Griffin for a 32-year-old Millsap, but if Big Baby says it, I trust in him that it could work, especially if CP3 and Doc just want to give it one last shot.
Dwyane Wade to the Clippers
"He gone with CP3!"
This is where things got weird. When KG asked if Wade was leaving Chicago, Big Baby was quick to send him out of Chicago and off to the Clippers. KG did what any respectable host would do: He turned to Wade’s teammate, Rondo, and asked if he had talked with Wade about free agency. Rondo froze, muttered something under his breath, and a moment of awkward silence ensued. Suddenly, a man walked in and carried the Larry O’Brien Trophy away while the players sat confused. "It’s over," Rondo said quietly. KG took it in stride, saying goodbye to all the Facebook Live viewers while the camera cut to Davis, who seemed shook.
And that was it.
Analysis: Wade to the Clippers makes sense only if the Clippers think this is the move to push them past the second round of the playoffs. (Spoiler alert: It wouldn’t.) But it’s the type of deal Doc Rivers would do in a heartbeat, solely based on the fact that he faced Wade repeatedly in the playoffs. If we combine both of Baby’s predictions, the Clippers would suddenly feature a lineup of CP3-Wade–Luc Mbah a Moute-Millsap–DeAndre Jordan. In an alternate universe in which the Warriors don’t exist, this might be good enough to take the Spurs to six games.
Trust Big Baby at your own risk, but for me, predicting that the Clippers will get older and that the Thunder will have two of the more athletic players in the league does not seem that far-fetched. Come July, we could end up marveling at his predictions or, like we’ve done with almost everything else he’s done in the league, just laughing at him. It’s a win-win.