Thursday, July 10, 2008

Elton Brand- The Saga of a Broken Word

On Wednesday, the 9th of July, it was made official. Elton Brand signed his name on the dotted line, and became a Philadelphia 76er. Brand signed a 5 year, 82 million dollar contract, which marked the end of a relatively disappointing but productive tenure as the Clippers 'franchise player' where he only led them to the postseason once in seven seasons.

The signing, and the events that took place leading up to the signing can be summed up in one word, ugly. Though the details of what actually took place are sketchy, the whole process made Elton Brand look like the villain. Brand opted out of his deal, claiming he was doing so to restructure his deal to a more cap friendly pact. He claimed he was doing this to help the Clippers bring in more talent. "My intention is to stay," Brand stated last week. "Right now, it's (opting out of his deal) just trying to solidify my future and work things out with the Clippers," he said. Brand's agent, David Falk, who once represented Michael Jordan said that Brand opting out of his contract was simply an attempt to gain roster flexibility for the Clippers.

What exactly changed from then to now? You know what they say, there are three sides to every story, the two sides of the parties involved and the truth. From the Clippers side, they claim they had Brand's word that he would come back. You have the quotes saying Brand opted out, so he could give the Clippers financial and roster flexibility. You have coach Mike Dunleavy saying there was a handshake, in which Brand would take less money if it helped them get Baron Davis. Also, Brand was allegedly recruiting Baron Davis to come play with him on the Clippers, filling up his phones with texts, and calls. On Brand's side, you have his agent claiming there was never an agreement, that the Clippers gave Brand a 70 million dollar offer (woe is Elton, what a slap in the face!) in a take it or leave it fashion, then when word came that other teams were offering more than that, the Clippers tried to get back into it but by then it was too late.

So, as of right now the details are kind of sketchy as to what happened, but I side with the Clippers with this one after the quotes from Brand claiming he wanted to be there and he was willing to take less to help the Clippers bring in FAs (Baron Davis). If you didn't want to be there, or there was a distinct possibility that you would go run for the money, why even say all of these things? Mind you, no one is saying that you have to be loyal, or that Brand had to play for the Clippers this season. He gave the Clippers seven good seasons, and has a right to play for whoever he so pleases. That being said, if you didn't want to play for them and wanted to get out of L.A. why talk all this talk, about wanting to stay and wanting to help the Clippers when it was never your intention? Why not be man enough to stand behind your word? You said you wanted to help the team's financial stability to help bring in Baron Davis, allegedly you were courting Baron to come play with you. Then why leave, when L.A. supposedly offered the same 81 million dollars that the 6ers ended up giving you? Why talk the talk, if you can't walk the walk?

This is like the Carlos Boozer situation with Cleveland a few years back, except there was no real concrete evidence to use against Boozer, besides word of mouth from the Cavaliers owner. Boozer had just come off an impressive 03-04 campaign, averaging 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. After the season, Cleveland had the option of allowing him to test the free agent market as a restricted free agent, or keeping him for another year, paying him $695,000. The Cavs claimed to have an 'understanding' with him for a deal worth $39 million over six years. But once Cleveland dim wittingly let him out of his deal, his agent started to receive calls about his services. One thing led to the next and before you knew it Boozer was signing a 6 yr 70 million dollar pact with the Utah Jazz. While I don't agree with Boozer going against his word (if he did make a verbal agreement), Cleveland handled this about as poorly as you can handle. They have seen the way ridiculous money is thrown around in the NBA. Boozer just came off a season where he averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds a game, they didn't think he would get more than the 6 years and 39 million that they tried to give him? They didn't think that there would be the temptation for him to back off on his supposed promise when people start throwing 'mucho dinero' at him? In this instance I think both parties are to blame, Boozer for breaking his word, and Cleveland for handling the situation as badly as you could handle it.

Back to Brand, we don't know the full details yet so it's hard to make judgments, but don't talk the talk if you can't walk the walk. Don't say how you're going to stay with the team and take less money to help them with roster flexibility and to help court Baron Davis and then leave. From that standpoint, how Brand handled the situation is Bush league. Why couldn't he just tell the truth from the beginning and say he didn't want to be in L.A.? Why couldn't he just tell the truth and say he didn't really care about L.A. or the Clippers organization? Why lure Baron Davis to L.A. then leave? As more comes out about the situation we should get a better feel for what took place, but in the meanwhile, Brand should take lessons in the field of 'keeping his word'. I don't know who's mainly responsible for this but I do think Brand's lack of integrity is the main culprit in this affair.

1 comment:

Amani Roberts said...

Karma is going to come back and get Elton Brand ... That was dirty, dirty, dirty what he and his agent (David Falk) did ...