- Associated Press - Thursday, February 24, 2011

CLEVELAND (AP) - Baron Davis was starting to soar with Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s about to drop to the NBA’s bottom.

One of the league’s top point guards, Davis is on the verge of being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Mo Williams and forward Jamario Moon. A person familiar with the trade told The Associated Press the deal is close to being finalized.

The swap also includes the Cavaliers acquiring the Clippers‘ 2011 first-round draft pick, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade will not be complete until after the teams have a conference call with the league office.

In acquiring Davis, 31, and the unprotected pick, the Cavs are getting a proven player and another high selection to speed up the rebuilding process for a team that has fallen apart since losing superstar LeBron James last summer. At 10-47, the Cavs have the league’s worst record.

When the trade is completed, Cleveland will have two first-round picks and two second-rounders this year. The Cavs also have a $14 million trade exception they could use as past of another deal before Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline.

The Cavs are taking on a huge contract, another sign of owner Dan Gilbert’s determination to get his team back on top. Davis is owed $29 million over the next two seasons.

The Clippers are taking on Williams‘ $9.3 million contract this season. He has player options over the next two years, so Los Angeles may be able to get him off their books if things don’t work out. Moon’s $3 million contract expires after this season, and the Cavs were probably going to buy him out.

Both Davis and Williams sat out their games on Wednesday night with apparent injuries. Davis didn’t play in New Orleans because of swelling in his left knee while Williams, who has battled injuries all season, missed Cleveland’s loss against Houston with a sore ankle.

Davis will be reunited in Cleveland with Cavs coach Byron Scott. The two clashed while working together with the Hornets, but Scott said this season that they had since fixed their relationship and were on good terms. Davis, who played at UCLA, was reportedly stunned when he was told he had been traded to the Cavs and he’s probably not happy about it.

He enjoyed playing alongside the high-flying Griffin, and the Clippers were beginning to show signs of life after decades of ineptitude. During last weekend’s All-Star dunk contest, Davis threw a lob pass out of a car’s sunroof to Griffin, who soared over the hood for the jam and won the event.

Williams is getting another fresh start.

He’s had a rough few months in Cleveland. Acquired by the Cavaliers before the 2008 season to help James win a title, Williams was deeply troubled by the two-time MVP’s decision to leave as a free agent for Miami. Williams injured his groin before training camp opened and has been slowed by a hip flexor for weeks.

Before the deal was officially complete, Williams reached out to Cleveland fans on his Twitter account.

“I wanna say thank you to all Cavs fans,” he wrote on mogotti2. “It’s been great. We’ve had some really good yrs and memories. I will never forget u guys.”

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