This was a little surprising. Shortly before 6 pm I got a text message from Elton Brand saying he’d just opted out of his contract. I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. The sense I’d gotten from people within the organization is that the Clips were going to do everything they could to keep him and really didn’t want him to opt out.
But here’s how you should read this. Elton Brand wants to stay in Los Angeles. His life is here, he’s got a burgeoning career in show business, his wife is due to give birth in October, and he likes the core group of players the Clips have around.
But he doesn’t want to play out the final year of his contract with no guarantees. After last season’s freak Achilles’ tendon injury, he’s learned all to well how quickly things can happen to an NBA player.
He also would like to know which guys the team brings in next year. In other words, is Maggette coming back? Are the Clips going to bring in a free agent point guard, or trade for one? If the answer to either of those questions is “No,” he may look elsewhere and ask for a sign-and-trade.
By opting out, he gives himself more time to survey the situation and put pressure on the Clips for a long-term deal.