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Davis is in a holding pattern

Celtics free agent awaits NBA fate

Glen Davis is eager to display his skills — in Boston or elsewhere. Glen Davis is eager to display his skills — in Boston or elsewhere. (File/The Boston Globe)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / June 21, 2011

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MEDFORD — Uncertainty has the NBA handcuffed this summer. Glen Davis, an unrestricted free agent, is simply waiting it out. The league and the players’ union must settle on a new collective bargaining agreement. Once they do, the Celtics will have to determine how much they’re willing to pay Davis, and Davis will have to decide whether he wants to remain in Boston after spending his first four seasons here.

In the past year, he’s watched Tony Allen leave via free agency and help the Grizzlies to the second round of the playoffs. Kendrick Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City in February after turning down an extension offer. The Thunder reached the Western Conference finals.

“It has crossed my mind,’’ Davis said about the possibility of leaving. “Everybody knows the situation with the Celtics and what they have, and everybody knows my situation. So, people have their opinions of what they think I should have. They think I shouldn’t be overpaid or not paid at all. But I know how I feel about myself and my game and it doesn’t matter what whoever says, whatever they say. It’s about my play.’’

Davis made $3.3 million last season. His priorities as a free agent, he said, are longevity, money, and the chance to be himself on the floor. In Boston, coach Doc Rivers has defined his role — scoring and rebounding off the bench, grunt work like setting picks, rolling to the basket, and taking charges. But Davis doesn’t want to be confined or pigeonholed.

“I just want to make sure I’m Glen Davis wherever I’m at,’’ Davis said. “I think I can be Glen Davis wherever. It just depends on the system, the people around the system, who’s going to let Glen Davis be Glen Davis, not make Glen Davis something they think he should be.’’

The Celtics have said they want to bring Davis back. During a recent appearance on WEEI, Rivers said it would have to be for “the right price’’ and that he didn’t want to “overpay.’’ Davis said he’s met this offseason with Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations, and that it went well, but he tried to tune out Rivers’s comments.

“I don’t try to pay attention,’’ Davis said. “I know Doc talks a lot. I don’t pay attention to that. That’s what he does. That’s Doc. He loves to talk. Danny, he’s doing what he does. He’s concentrating on the NBA draft. He’s not concentrating on [me] because he doesn’t need to concentrate on me right now.’’

Rivers also implied that Davis struggled in the postseason because he was focused on his contract situation. He shot 39 percent from the floor, averaged 4.9 points, and was so adrift that he put out an APB on himself during the Celtics’ second-round loss to Miami.

“It bothered me a lot because I pride myself on playing good basketball, especially when you need it,’’ Davis said. “Every postseason, I’ve played tremendously good, to the point it was like, ‘Wow.’ And this summer it didn’t happen because I felt mentally, I wasn’t ready and prepared enough for what was in front of me . . . and it affected the way I played. That’s what I’ve been doing this offseason, just concentrating on that, making sure a postseason like that won’t ever happen to me ever again.

“This summer’s a different summer for me as far as just growing fully, peaking to where I truly need to be as far as a person and my game as a player. I’ve been exercising my mind mentally because of what’s about to happen.

“The mental game is the most important part to me. If you can’t focus in on what you need to do and let other things distract you, then you can’t be the player that you need to be.’’

Julian Benbow can be reached at jbenbow@globe.com.

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