NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Monday night that the Philadelphia 76ers are again “actively involved” in the Brand hunt — and a very serious threat to tempt him away from L.A.
Sources say that the Sixers are growing increasingly confident in their ability to create additional salary-cap space by finding a new home via trade for swingman Rodney Carney and center Calvin Booth … and then make a sufficiently rich offer Brand would struggle to refuse. – ESPN.com
Basically Ed Stefanski and the Sixers are for real about improving this team now and will pull all the stops to get it done. Moving Calvin Booth and Rodney Carney without taking salary back (potentially to Memphis or Minnesota) would free up just under $3M on top of the $11-$12.5 in estimated cap space the 76ers already have. It appears they will use that money to first go after Elton Brand and I assume if that fails to pump up their offer to Josh Smith. If the Sixers can make the deal to gain additional cap space the Clippers should be pretty worried. That is, if Brand is really all about winning at this stage of his career. Remember this is an elite player who has only been in the post season one time.
Update: I think the deal to send Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth to Minnesota is pretty much done.
Does Elton Brand really want to win?
Let’s take a look at the potential rosters/situations of the teams involved to see which one gives Brand the best opportunity to compete for a championship.
Starters: Samuel Dalembert / Elton Brand / Thaddeus Young / Andre Iguodala / Andre Miller
Top reserves: Louis Williams / Reggie Evans / Willie Green / Jason Smith / Marreese Speights
- Brand is from New York and coming to Philadelphia would bring him back East closer to his roots
- Playing in the weaker Eastern Conference from a competition standpoint gives him the best chance to compete for a championship
- Playing along side a defensive-minded center always tends to benefit scoring PFs like Brand
- Not a one-year wonder. With the young on this team and the addition of Brand the Sixers should only get better and be in contention for at least the next 3-4 years (if Andre Miller stays)
- Team up with his old point guard Andre Miller again
- With the addition of Brand the Sixers must get a perimeter shooter (Chris Quinn! We can offer him $1.91M for one or two years regardless of our cap situation using the Bi-Annual Exception.)
- I think it is safe to say with the addition of Brand and say Quinn as a back-up PG and shooter the Sixers are easily a 50+ win team ensuring a first round home playoff series. And depending on what other moves Detroit makes, could jump up to 2nd in the East.
Los Angeles Clippers
Starters: Chris Kaman / Elton Brand / Al Thorton / Cuttino Mobley / Baron Davis
Top reserves: Eric Gordon / Tim Thomas / Brevin Knight / DeAndre Jordan (to my knowledge they are the only players currently under contract or expected to be. The rest still need to be re-signed.)
- Brand is already the face of the Clippers franchise
- In L.A. he is close to the Hollywood life he enjoys as a movie producer
- He opted out released statements saying he wanted to return and that he would essentially take a pay cut in order for the Clippers to go out and bring in an impact player. Mentioning Baron Davis by name. Would he really go back on his words?
- The Clippers would be much improved, but I still think that roster is only good for bottom in the Western Conference fighting for a playoff spot depending on how Portland’s young group does next season. Are they a 55-win team?
Golden State Warriors
Starters: Andris Biedrins / Elton Brand / Al Harrington (he will absolutely demand a trade if G.S. were to find a pure PG and Harrington gets benched for Brand) / Stephen Jackson / Monta Ellis
Top reserves: Brandon Wright / Marco Belinelli / Anthony Randolph (lots of free agents, would Richard Hendrix even make this team if they added another PF in Brand?)
- Biggest pay day he could dream of at his age
- Still in California to support his movie career
- This team isn’t a playoff team to me
What it really comes down to for Brand
If he wants to win the Sixers are clearly the best option. If he wants to get paid while maintaining his Hollywood lifestyle, the Warriors are the choice. If he wants to remain the face of a franchise and stay loyal, the Clippers are the answer.
I don’t think Golden State should have a chance at Brand. There team wouldn’t be good enough. As a basketball player it should always be about winning and the money comes second. In the late stages of an elite players career money shouldn’t be the determining factor. Brand has money, he has been paid roughly $81 million dollars in basketball salary alone in his career. Never mind any endorsements.
If you are Elton Brand and David Falk (his agent) and you are looking at the teams courting him, is there any question which team gives Brand the best chance to win? Win now and for the life of his expected contract?
This is more than just Elton Brand for the Sixers and their fans
By making the move to free up cap space the Sixers puts added pressure on Atlanta as well. I don’t think they had or have any intention of matching “any” offer. They offered Josh Smith something like $45M at the beginning of the 2007 season which he turned down looking for a max or near max extension. Atlanta obviously wasn’t willing to bump their offer enough to satisfy Smith before the extension period ended to get a deal done. If you are an Atlanta fan why would you believe what that organization is spewing? Do you really think they are prepared match an offer of $65M or more? And I tend to give NBA people credit, and think they had to anticipate the number for Smith rising dramatically when he became a free agent. Why even let the guy get on the market if you were willing to pay that much?
Finally, isn’t this what we all have been waiting for? A GM knowledgeable, capable and savvy enough to change this franchise for the better. Not only that, it is clear Stefanski has the full backing from ownership to do whatever it takes. GO SIXERS!