Elton Brand and the Spirit of ’76
Some things just weren’t meant to be
Elton Brand is now a Philadelphia 76er. In a move that gave some more spice to an already entertaining free agent period, one of the biggest fish available defied what many thought was conventional wisdom (and some uncomfortable begging) and left Los Angeles and Baron Davis for Philadelphia and life in the paint with Samuel Dalembert. The terms are expected to be in the five year, $80 million neighborhood.
However, his leaving LA isn’t the end of the Elton Brand story, it seems like it’s only the beginning. At least from the perspective of Clippers fans. After the signing of Baron Davis, the Clips nation was breathlessly waiting on Brand to rejoin the fold. Had he done so, the Clippers would have been a major player in the Western Conference. Now there’s confusion, blame, anger and heartbreak to deal with.
The confusion, anger and blame seem to be aimed at Brand’s agent, David Falk. Most of it, anyway. However, the Clips Nation guys do a great job of framing Brand’s decision and how it affects his now-previous team:
By the way, you think you feel bad? You think this comes as a blow to you? What about Baron Davis? Or Chris Kaman for that matter? Kaman thought he was FINALLY going to be playing next to Brand again on the Clippers front line. Now he finds out it’s never going to happen.
While there’s a lot of disappointment and various levels of contention to be worked out, the move makes Philadelphia one of the brighter teams in the Eastern Conference. In fact, if the Sixers can stay relatively injury-free, they may be the second best team in East — and that’s meant with no offense to LeBron James or Dwight Howard.
As for the Clippers, right now they have a serviceable team; however, to be competitive in the West, you need more than serviceable, you need dominant. The Clips should be able to score points with Al Thornton, Chris Kaman and Baron Davis, but points don’t make you a dominant team, just an exciting one. Do they go after a power forward to replace Brand or just role with what they have?
If the Clips go after Josh Smith, they are going to have to pay him as much, if not more than they offered Brand to ensure the Hawks would be reluctant to match the offer. Definitely something to keep your eyes on.