This is hardly even about a trade, but the one sentence in there about the trade is ridiculous.
The Philadelphia 76ers have apparently won the Elton Brand free-agent sweepstakes.
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.
The Sixers cannot formally sign Brand before midnight, with Wednesday serving as the first day that NBA teams can officially complete signings and trades after the lifting of a league wide moratorium which began July 1.
But Philadelphia has secured Brand’s verbal commitment, sources said, after first reaching an agreement in principle with the Minnesota Timberwolves on a trade that, according to sources, will send Sixers forward Rodney Carney, center Calvin Booth and a future first-round pick to the Wolves without Philadelphia having to take back any salary. The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the Sixers will receive a future second-round pick in return.
That trade will shave nearly $3 million off the Sixers’ payroll next season and increase what was already substantial salary-cap space, positioning them to sign Brand to a five-year deal believed to be starting in the $14-to-15 million range. Exact figures are expected to be available later Tuesday evening when the league reveals next season’s salary-cap figure to its 30 teams and the media.
Said one source close to the process: “Elton wants to go East.”
Another source had described Brand as leaning “70-30” in favor of going to the Sixers and didn’t rule out the possibility that the Clippers could still increase their five-year offer beyond the latest estimate of roughly $75 million. The Clippers are also the only team in the running with the ability to offer a no-trade clause to Brand, something that only one other player in the league — Staples Center co-tenant Kobe Bryant — has in his contract.
Philadelphia’s shedding of two salaries to set up a major free-agent signing is reminiscent of the move made by Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 1996, when then-Lakers personnel chief Jerry West sent Anthony Peeler and George Lynch to the then-Vancouver Grizzlies, creating the cap space that made it possible for L.A. to sign Shaquille O’Neal away from Orlando.
Getting Brand away from the Clippers might not quite have a Shaq-sized impact on the Sixers, but it would be an undeniable coup for Philadelphia on a variety of levels.
Brand is the proven power player Philadelphia clearly lacks on an otherwise promising roster that won many admirers as last season progressed. The Sixers extended Detroit to six games in a first-round series more competitive than many anticipated and, if they can formally secure Brand’s signature, would be adding a two-time All-Star to veterans Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, top youngsters Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young, and the considerable wingspan of Samuel Dalembert at center.
A move to the East would also come with on- and off-court benefits for Brand, sending him to a conference with far fewer title contenders and moving him closer to his East Coast-based family with Brand and his wife expecting their first child this fall.
If Brand indeed goes through with his apparent intent to join the Sixers, such an outcome is bound to be widely branded as a shocker after he and agent David Falk announced last week that Brand was opting out of the final year of his previous contract (worth $16.4 million) to give the Clippers more payroll flexibility to strengthen the team around Brand. Within 24 hours, L.A. responded on the first day of free agency by reaching a verbal agreement with Davis in what easily ranks as the biggest free-agent coup in Clippers history.
Brand told ESPN.com on June 30 that his “intention is to stay” with the Clippers, while Falk spoke optimistically of Brand signing a deal to “finish his career with the Clippers” if the team could make another significant personnel acquisition or two. ESPN.com reported late last week that Davis was the player Brand specifically asked Clippers management to chase in June.
During the ensuing week, while L.A. has been trying to convince its 29-year-old franchise forward to stay, Brand has also been weighing an offer from the Golden State Warriors believed to be worth more than what the Clippers or Sixers can offer him. After Davis informed the Warriors that he was leaving the Bay Area to sign a five-year deal worth an estimated $65 million with his hometown Clippers, Golden State responded by presenting Brand with a five-year offer worth an estimated $90 million.
So…the Sixers are trading two players and a first round pick to the Timberwolves for a second round pick? WHAT? How is that legal?
Tags: Los Angeles Clippers