First day of the rest of their careers

That’s one way of looking at today’s deadline for both Corey Maggette and Elton Brand to opt out of the final year of their contracts. The Clippers have said repeatedly they expect both to be back, one way or the other, but you never know what another team might be willing to pay.

My sense, from talking to people in the organization, is that Brand is more likely to be back than Maggette. The only question is whether Brand is back for the final year of his contract, or a longer-term deal. Maggette was the team’s most reliable scoring option last season, after Brand, Shaun Livingston and Chris Kaman went down with injuries. But he’s always been a little miscast in LA. During their playoff run, remember, he was coming off the bench.

After the way Al Thornton developed last year, there is a sense that the Clippers could weather Maggette’s loss easier than it could Brand, who is still seen as the cornerstone of the franchise.

The problem for both guys though, is that nobody has cap-space this year. Philly and Memphis do, but Philly has Andre Iguodala and thus doesn’t need Maggette, and Memphis seems dead set on shedding big contracts. Still, I came across an interesting article tonight in the Orlando Sentinel suggesting the Magic as a popular landing spot for Maggette. His parents live there, he started his career there, and he’d fit well alongside Dwight Howard…

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