July 03, 2008
Suddenly and swiftly, the question in Clipperland on Wednesday became: What will Elton Brand do? In a whirlwind that amounted to "who has the salary cap space now?" the Golden State Warriors reached deep down the coastline and even deeper into their pocketbooks, offering free-agent forward Brand a five-year, $90-million contract, according to multiple NBA sources who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about player movements.
The offer came after the Los Angeles Clippers expected to reach an agreement with Brand, 29, as soon as Wednesday for a five-year deal worth about $70 million, the most the team could offer under salary cap considerations and still sign free-agent guard Baron Davis, whom the team had come to a verbal agreement with Tuesday, according to the sources. No deal can be announced until July 9, when next year's salary cap, expected to be about $58 million, is set. Also, teams are not permitted to speak on the specific status of free agents until that date.
The Philadelphia 76ers, one of the remaining teams with significant space under the expected cap, are also expected to enter the competition for Brand's services, creating a potential bidding war for the All-Star forward.
"This is the NBA," Clippers President Andy Roeser said Wednesday. "It's very fluid and anything can happen, but we're confident it's all going to work out for us at the end of the moratorium."
Brand departed for Washington on Wednesday to meet with his agent, David Falk, according to the sources. Neither he nor Falk could be reached for comment. As Brand flew, the Clippers spent much of the afternoon on the phone with Falk, according to the sources.