The Trail Blazers players miss Ed Davis. Portland’s current players did not hesitate when talking to CBS Sports James Herbert about their affection for their former teammate.
“Usually people ask about people I don’t like, and I have to lie,” Evan Turner said. He was happy, then, to talk about his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate Ed Davis: “Really good dude. Wish he was back.”
(Side note: Anyone else tempted to dig back through Turner’s old quotes and try to figure out who he’s referring to?)
“Everybody loves Ed,” Lillard said. “I just think just having him around, it was different. I think we expected him to be around forever. We were like, there ain’t no way, there’s no way Ed’s going to ever be nowhere else. I still think about it.”
Lillard and Davis became close, however, for non-basketball reasons. There was “no B.S. to him,” Lillard said, describing him as humble, regular and real.
”If it was up to me, me and Ed would be teammates for my entire career,” Lillard said.
Herbert also mentioned on Twitter that the Blazers coaching staff valued Davis.
thanks!! didn’t talk to Neil for this, but Ed thinks Neil simply didn’t value him the same way the coaching staff did. Neil is on to record saying he advised Ed to take Brooklyn’s offer and he wanted more “modern” backup bigs— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) December 22, 2018
Praise for Davis, however, seemed to turn to mild frustration when salary was discussed.
Turner was shocked the Blazers didn’t re-sign Davis. “It was only $4 million,” he said, cheap for a “consummate pro” who was “really, really, really invaluable” to the locker room. Davis came off the bench for 202 of his 220 games in Portland, playoffs included, but his “impact on the team was if he was a starter and one of the captains,” Lillard said.
Given the lack of available free agent money last summer, it’s possible that the $4 million deal Davis signed was slightly below market value for other seasons, so Turner’s bemusement makes sense. Adding to the frustration is the fact that the Blazers have virtually no below-market value player contracts, making it more difficult to construct appealing trade packages. Letting Davis walk for nothing cost the Blazers a player who could have been a positive asset in the mythical consolidation trade that Portland is waiting for.
There’s much more in Hebert’s article and is a must-read for anyone who wants a look at Portland’s locker room chemistry.