Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Elton Brand mirage (?)I

If the Sixers were able to sign Elton Brand, I can't even begin to describe how happy I'd be. He's a great player, plus he fits the Sixers need for a strong low-post presence.

I was in the middle of writing that despite how excited I'd be and the flurry of articles today about the possibility, I seriously doubted that the Sixers were in real contention for his services. Then I went to ESPN.com to try and find links to the articles that I'd read on the topic earlier today, and I came across this article:
NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that Brand has informed the Sixers that he will accept a five-year deal worth an estimated $82 million and spurn what was presumed to be a slam-dunk return to the Los Angeles Clippers to hook up with Clipper-to-be Baron Davis.
I mean...wow. Just, wow.

(I'm speechless)

(As a side note, all the articles from earlier in the day have been replaced by updated versions that include this more recent information, so no links to them. Sorry.)

As the articles from earlier today hinted (and this most recent article stated), the Sixers are creating more room under the salary cap to make this signing possible by trading Rodney Carney, Calvin Booth, and a first round pick to the Timberwolves for a second round pick and/or a part of a trade exception (depending on which article you read-- the trade has only been agreed to in principle at this point). It seems odd to trade away players for basically nothing, but I wasn't too bothered by the trade because I haven't been very impressed by Carney and hopefully the Sixers first round pick won't be a good one in coming years. If this trade actually makes it possible for the Sixers to sign Brand, I'll be one happy camper.

If I'm a Clippers fan, then I'm definitely one unhappy camper. And I'd probably feel a little used. After all, when Brand opted out of the last year of his contract, he talked about how he planned on resigning with the Clippers and was opting out in part to give the Clippers more payroll flexibility so they could get him some better support. So what happens? The Clippers go out and reach an agreement in principle with Baron Davis, using some of the money that could have been used for Brand, and Brand (apparently) agrees to sign with another team for less than the Clippers could have originally offered him (but more than the current offer). And less than the Warriors are offering. Huh.

(If you're keeping track, the reported offers are: Sixers, 5 years, $82 milliion; Clippers, 5 years, $75 million; Warriors, 5 years, $90 million.)

I guess we'll find out what's really going on tomorrow. And in the mean time, for a well-balanced, let's-not-get-all-hysterical-quite-yet take on the situation from the perspective of a Clippers fan, you can go here. For a Sixers fan, this paragraph is probably the key insight:

Look, we don't have any more information from Elton today than we did last Monday night. It's a little nerve-wracking, I'll grant you that. But we suspected most of this would happen from the start, didn't we? We suspected Philly would try to get in the game. We suspected (after the first day or so), that Elton would take his time and listen to everyone, if only to do his due diligence. Did Philly shed contracts in order to squeeze out a bigger offer to EB because of 'smoke signals coming from Brand's teepee' as John Hollinger so politically incorrectly put it? Maybe, maybe not. Remember, they've got their sights set on Josh Smith too, and a bigger offer there is just as relevant as a bigger offer to Brand. They'll offer the money to Brand first for two reasons - one, he's better. But more importantly, he's unrestricted and can answer with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. With Smith, if they make the offer and he accepts it, Atlanta has 7 days to match, which could tie up Philly's money for 7 days. So an offer to Smith precludes an offer to Brand. So you go after Brand first, whether or not it's a long shot.

The idea that the Sixers have a more exciting team for Brand to join just doesn't ring true. Andre Miller? EB's been there and done that, and even if he thought Andre was a great piece of the puzzle there, this is pretty clearly his last season in Philly. So I hardly see Miller as a big draw. Does Elton want to get into the Eastern Conference where he can make the all star team and the playoffs without breaking a sweat? Maybe. But I fail to see the Sixers as having a more promising future than the Clippers with Baron Davis.

(I disagree that the Clippers have a brighter future than the Sixers, but everyone thinks a little more highly of their own team's future)


Louis said...


We made it through the middle-of-the-pack desert and found that Elton Brand was not a mirage but in fact an honest-to-goodness free-agent-oasis.

I am thrilled with this pick up and if we pick up Josh Smith too... it would be a great off-season for the 76ers. The kind of team-moves not seen in any of the major franchises for quite a while.

Sam Cohen said...

Having signed Brand, we don't have the cap room left to sign Smith or any other free agent seeking more than the mid-level exception. But I guess we can't be _that_ greedy!

Louis said...

Why can't we be that greedy? Let's be greedy. Look what greed did for Boston.