I got to work today and the immediate conversation with Pete went like this…
Pete: “Soooo….. Elton Brand?”
Dannie: I saw one low post play and he looked horrible.
Pete: He IS horrible. I don’t get it.
Dannie: The more I watch the more I don’t think his body is right. He looks like he knows what he wants to do but his body just can’t do it. This year might be a wash although I hope not. He could get back to it next season after fully healing and regaining his bounce. Right now the bounce isn’t there.
Pete: God you’re optimistic. My take is that he just sucks – forever.
Dannie: Haha OK. I will be sure to mention that when I do my Elton post. “Pete says he sucks – forever!”
Pete: Haha. Yup. No shot.
(Yes we actually do real work as well.)
That little exchange was a foreshadowing of information to come later in the afternoon.
One of, if not my favorite thing on ESPN.com is the chat sessions with the writers and players they have. Today provided us with some interesting nuggets of information and speculation about our big free agent acquisition Elton Brand.
Could the Sixers Really Give Up on Elton Brand THIS Season?
Let me start with the actual rumor via two Chad Ford quotes. One from the chat today and another from his most recent Trade Watch article.
Chad Ford: (1:23 PM ET ) Yes … from what my sources around the league are saying, Brand is available. The question is, given how poorly he’s played this year and his huge contract, does anyone want him?
It’s not hard to see that the Sixers’ future looks brighter with their youth, not their veterans. While Miller might be the first casualty, it’s not inconceivable that Elton Brand is next.
Let me make this clear, I do not read this the same way I did when I wrote about the Samuel Dalembert trade rumor. As in they are actively shopping Elton Brand. But it clearly sounds like Ed Stefanski and the Sixers are certainly not against entertaining offers for Brand. Even though he has only played in 25 games with the team and only 3 1/2 under Dileo after signing his 5-year, $79M contract.
Of course that stimulates all sorts of new trade scenarios most people wouldn”t have even considered because the thought of trading Brand was so foreign. With that said here are a few that Ford addressed in his chat….
Patrick (Miami): Where does Marion end up Chad? Can the Heat get something better for him than O’Neal? Or do they hold on to him and then go after Boozer again this summer?
Chad Ford: (1:18 PM ET ) I think they have to see whether they can pry Boozer or Elton Brand for Marion. I think both are possible and both are better long term fits than O’Neal. The one positive for O’Neal is that he’s off the books in 2010. That gives the Heat LOTS of cap space in the summer of 2010. Of all the markets trying to clear cap … Miami is one of the most desirable for NBA free agents. The fact that Wade and Michael Beasley are there won’t hurt recruiting either.
Chad Ford: (1:24 PM ET ) I’ve wondered about a Rasheed Wallace for Brand swap but doubt Joe D wants to invest that much money right now on Brand
Dick (NY): How about Brand returning to Chicago? Any chance?
Chad Ford: (1:30 PM ET ) Sure. If the Sixers would take back Larry Hughes as part of the deal. It would give them long term cap relief, but that would be a huge admission that they screwed up signing Brand. I’m sure Chicago would throw either Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah in the deal.
I think everyone knows my dislike for Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Sheed would be an older upgrade over Elton Brand, but if the idea is to get a power forward that is in harmony with the Sixers’ desire to run, Wallace doesn’t really fit the bill either.
The Shawn Marion deal is very intriguing to me for two reason.
- The Sixers could rent him for the rest of the season and probably play extremely well. He would fit in perfectly as a smaller power forward who thrives in the open court and a fast break style of play. So he could come in, mesh, provide some excitement for this season and a possible playoff run into the second round. Then the Sixers could let him walk and improve their cap position dramatically in the off-season.
- Basically swap Brand for Marion long-term. Resign Marion and have him be the smaller, more athletic power forward that seems to work on this team as assembled. Marion is only a year older, will likely come a bit cheaper and with possible 1 less year on a new contract than Brand and fits with the style of play the Sixers seemed committed too (more on this in a future post).
Best scenario for the Sixers would involve us trading Brand for Amare AND being able to resign him long-term. Like the conversation I had with Pete above, I am more optimistic we can make Brand in Philly work. But that all depends on him returning to form physically and with regard to his consistency and production.