As promised, here’s the first of several entries I’ll be posting about the Elton Brand situation.
A lot of people ask me, to this day, what exactly happened over the summer which led to Elton ending up in Philadelphia, Baron being in LA with the Lakers and Corey heading up the 101 to play for the Warriors.
Here’s the best I’ve been able to make of it. The original plan, as Elgin Baylor and Mike Dunleavy stated many times before the NBA Draft in late June, was to bring both Elton and Corey back, draft the best player available, and make a run at free agent point guard Beno Udrih. The Clippers would’ve preferred that both players play out the final year of their contracts. Corey and Elton though, were not entirely comfortable with that arrangement, and preferred to opt-out and ask the team for a new contract.
Elton consulted with coach Dunleavy on this issue, mostly because the two were very close. But also because he trusted Dunleavy’s take on how the club would respond to his decision. Essentially, he was told the club wanted him back one way or another, so the decision on whether to opt out or not was his to make.
David Falk, Elton’s agent, did not like the fact his client was so close with the team’s front office/coach. Prior to July 1st, Falk had asked the Clippers for a max contract extension, similar to what Washington offered Gilbert Arenas. He was told that that would be difficult to give to a player coming off an Achilles’ injury, but that if Elton played out the final year of his contract and had the kind of year he’d put up before the injury, the club would be open to a max contract extension.
It’s not clear if Elton began to turn against the Clippers at this point, or shortly afterwards. But I know from conversations with people close to him, and an interview I did with Maggette over the summer, that in retrospect, Elton has brought this issue up several times as a way the Clippers didn’t show him respect, or go the extra mile for him. In other words, Washington took care of Arenas when he was coming off a knee injury, why wouldn’t the Clippers do the same for him.
To Be Continued …