CLEVELAND -- Returning to the "black hole," Boston Celtics guard Ricky Davis apologized to the few fans he still has here -- but not to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Davis was back in Gund Arena on Monday for the first time since he was traded to Boston on Dec. 15 in a six-player deal that caused dramatic changes to both teams. He was booed when he entered the game against the Cavs.
"It felt a little like homecoming back here," said Davis, who didn't speak so lovingly of Cleveland after he left.
Shortly after the trade, Davis rankled fans by criticizing the Cavs, general manager Jim Paxson and the city.
"I was glad to be out of the black hole," Davis said then. "It was terrible over there. The organization. No system. The town. Everything. The GM. All of it is kind of backward. It's good to be in a winning organization that has a system and knows what's going on.
"It's a step up in everything ... class, coaches, owners, GMs, players, winning, tradition, everything."
However, following the Celtics' morning shootaround to get ready for Monday night's game against the Cavaliers, Davis said he regretted some of his remarks.
"I want to apologize to the fans, they were always here during the bad times," he said. "They know I love them, and it was just hard times over here."
As for his other post-trade targets, Davis wasn't as contrite.
Asked if he was sorry for ripping Paxson and the organization, Davis paused and said, "I don't really want to go in to all of that, but I like my fans."
The Cavs were 6-17 when they traded Davis and forwards Chris Mihm and Michael Stewart to the Celtics for Eric Williams, Tony Battie and Kedrick Brown. Since then, Cleveland has gone 13-15 and moved back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
During the same span, the Celtics have spiraled downward with coach Jim O'Brien's recent resignation the low point.
Davis's departure was viewed as a necessity in Cleveland, where he wasn't happy playing a supporting role to rookie star LeBron James.
But at least he was a starter. With the Celtics, Davis is averaging 12.5 points in 27.3 minutes coming off the bench.
"It's tough," he said. "You have to think about what you're doing out there. You have to come in warmed up and ready."
Davis was sure Cleveland fans would be warmed up and ready for him Monday night.
"A little bit of this, a little bit of that probably," he said when asked what type of reception he thought he'd get. "A few cheers, a few boos. All of it."
He was booed when he entered the game with 3:45 left in the first quarter, and each time touched the ball.
Davis did have a few fans in the house. His shirtless fan club, "Ricky's Renegades," saluted their hero by writing "King Davis" on their bare chests.
Before I forget, go read this year's SLAMMYS - the basketball ones, yeah - by the fine folks over at THE LINKS: http://slamonline.com/links/04182005/index.html The ABOVE link will change as the week goes on. You can find it.