Will Davis’s bag­gage be too heavy for Edge?

New­est St. John’s player Glen Davis is a for­mer NBA star, but he’s had his share of problems of late

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - SPORTS - Robin Short

As far as di­vorces go, this one wasn’t messy or drawn out. The split be­tween the St. John’s Edge and Gabe Free­man was swift, a quick slice through the con­tract days be­fore the new Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada sea­son was to open.

No one, other than coach Doug Plumb, Carl English and a hand­ful of oth­ers, un­der­stand ex­actly what went down, why the Edge and their mar­quee off-sea­son sign­ing, the player who was a for­mer NBL reg­u­lar sea­son and play­off MVP, parted ways.

But some­thing went awry, and I have a sneaky sus­pi­cion it had noth­ing to do with bas­ket­ball.

“There are cer­tain things,” Plumb said at the time, “that you can’t com­pro­mise. We’ve done a great job of putting to­gether a group that meshes well.

“We didn’t feel there was a fit in with the type of peo­ple we have here.”

What this means, in the world of pro sports speak, is Free­man wasn’t a “room” guy in the eyes of Edge hier­ar­chy. Some­thing went off the rails, and rather than have it fes­ter and in­fect the dress­ing room, he was cut loose.

Which brings us to an­other star player.

And with all due re­spect to Free­man, this guy could be the big­gest, not in the lit­eral sense, “name” guy in the league.

Glen Davis was a col­lege bas­ket­ball star, a South­east Con­fer­ence MVP with Louisiana State Univer­sity, and a sec­ond-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

He played in the league for eight years, and won a cham­pi­onship with the Bos­ton Celtics in 2008. Three times, he av­er­aged dou­ble fig­ures in scor­ing, his best year com­ing in 2012-13 when he net­ted 15.1 points per game and grabbed 7.2 re­bounds for the Or­lando Magic.

Royce White, who won a cham­pi­onship with the Lon­don Light­ning last year, might have been a first round NBA draft pick, and Michael Ray Richard­son, the one-time Lon­don coach, might have been an NBA star un­til drugs de­railed his ca­reer.

But they were no Glen Davis, the big­gest star-sight­ing the NBL Canada has ever known.

So why, then, are we scratch­ing our heads?

Why, then, is there a “yeah, but …”?

Glen (Big Baby) Davis was a bonafide NBA star. He wanted a re­turn to the league, and talked of play­ing in the G League even up un­til last sea­son, two years af­ter his last NBA game.

That ev­i­dently didn’t pan out. He signed to play in Croa­tia this sea­son, and headed over­seas.

But he didn’t suit up with KK Zadar. Me­dia re­ports cited weight is­sues and at­ti­tude problems.

In an on­line video posted later, Davis put the full court press on Zadar, not­ing there were “in­ter­nal is­sues” with the team.

“The or­ga­ni­za­tion is shit,” he said in the video.

So now it’s St. John’s, N.L., and the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League of Canada.

Huh?

For a player who ap­par­ently made up­wards of $35 mil­lion in his ca­reer?

With Davis, though, there are big­ger con­cerns, and it starts with a crim­i­nal charge last March of possession and in­tent to dis­trib­ute fol­low­ing an ar­rest in a Mary­land ho­tel room.

Be­sides the 126 grams of mar­i­juana found in the room, there was a brief­case with $92,000 in cash tucked in­side.

Maybe he was headed off to Wal­mart.

Then there’s the lit­tle mat­ter of a felony as­sault charge last April, stem­ming from an al­ter­ca­tion out­side an L.A. night­club, which left a man scuffed up pretty good.

We won’t even get into the other video float­ing around, the one with Davis sup­pos­edly on a plane, munch­ing on fried chicken, with his Celtics’ cham­pi­onship ring sit­ting on wads of cash in a nearby brief­case.

There’s bag­gage, and then there’s a mov­ing van chock-full of suit­cases.

Free­man, de­spite his MVP awards, was ex­pend­able. But Davis, who once dropped 33 points on the Philadel­phia 76ers, well, he’s a star.

And, let’s be hon­est, he’ll be a box of­fice bo­nanza.

“No. Ab­so­lutely not,” a res­o­lute coach Plumb said when asked this week if he was con­cerned with Davis com­ing in and up­set­ting the ap­ple cart.

“We re­ally had great talks with their side, a lot of open di­a­logue. He wants to play, and he wants to win. Ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion I’ve had with him has been fan­tas­tic.

“Look,” Plumb said, “I’m a huge be­liever in sec­ond chances. No per­son is per­fect, and I don’t be­lieve in cru­ci­fy­ing some­one be­cause they made a mis­take.

“I be­lieve play­ers want con­sis­tency, and they want to know where they fit in. As coaches, we have to be pre­pared and be thor­ough, be clear on what we want from the play­ers.

“Talk­ing to Glen, he said all the right things. … I’ve got a good feel­ing here.”

It’s a huge gam­ble for the Edge. If Davis comes in and works him­self into shape, St. John’s just zoomed up to the top of the list of con­tenders for a league cham­pi­onship, de­spite the Edge’s pedes­trian 2-5 record to start the year.

If Davis goes the other way, and a gong show en­sues, well, Plumb and Edge man­age­ment will be tee­ter­ing on los­ing the team.

“What I’ve seen in the last 72 hours,” Plumb said, “is what I’ve en­vi­sioned all sum­mer.”

On Sun­day, St. John’s lost a 112-111 heart-breaker to the Hal­i­fax Hur­ri­canes to fall to 1-5.

Trail­ing at the half 58-42, and 86-67 af­ter three quar­ters, the Edge mounted a fu­ri­ous come­back in the fourth quar­ter to over­come a 24-point deficit, only to have the game de­cided by the fi­nal possession, the win­ning bucket com­ing as the buzzer sounded.

Un­daunted, the Edge came back two nights later in Syd­ney, N.S. and beat the Cape Bre­ton High­landers 109-92, with Carl English break­ing out with 28 points.

“Yes, our record is 2-5, but I see good signs with this team,” Plumb said. “So you don’t want to mess with what you’ve es­tab­lished.

“And when you’re that good,” he said in ref­er­ence to Davis, “you have to give him the ball. But when you also have the shoot­ers that we have, that’s a very dan­ger­ous tool. It’s ex­cit­ing to think of the pos­si­bil­i­ties, ex­cit­ing to get a player of that stature.

“Now we have to en­sure we get a buy-in from ev­ery­one.”

Davis isn’t in town yet, be­cause of an im­mi­gra­tion holdup.

With the Edge not slated to play un­til next Fri­day, against the Is­land Storm from P.E.I. at Mile One Cen­tre, there will be plenty of time for Davis to in­tro­duce him­self to his new team­mates and get in a few prac­tices.

And maybe, given all that cash at his dis­posal, pick up a tab or two for the boys.

AP FILE PHOTO

Glen Davis, then play­ing for the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers, go over Aron Baynes of the San Antonio Spurs as he drives for the bas­ket in this 2015 file photo. Davis is set to join the St. John’s Edge.

AP FILE PHOTO

Glen Davis was drafted 35th over­all by the Seat­tle Su­per­son­ics in 2007, but never played a game in Seat­tle. He was pack­aged to the Bos­ton Celtics in a trade shortly af­ter, and won an NBA cham­pi­onship in 2008 with the Celtics.

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