As the NBA world gets set to tuck in for an abbreviated late-summer vacation, now that the bulk of free agency and the 2016 Summer Olympics are in the rear-view mirror, we’re starting to hear more and more from veterans currently outside the league intent on making their way back in come the fall. Ray Allen, Baron Davis, Emeka Okafor, Von Wafer, Ben Gordon and Flip Murray — plenty of ex-NBA contributors are either actively pursuing or seriously considering taking another crack at the big time. From the sound of it, they’re about to be joined by a former No. 1 overall draft pick.
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Here’s Monday’s announcement from sports agency Interperformances:
Interperformances is proud to announce that the NBA star Kwame Brown decided to sign with our agency. The #1 overall pick of the 2001 draft is ready for a new life. His comeback can be the road to glory for a team that believes in him. Kwame is back, physically healthy and ready to be the outstanding player he was on several NBA teams.
A great intimidator that can block shots, rebound consistently and explode in devastating dunks. No longer the young man that entered the NBA, Kwame is now an experienced and mature player and man. And he’s back, for the love of the game.
Hey, that’s great! Way to find your love of the game, Kwame. And way to find it after the influx of revenue from the league’s new $24 billion broadcast rights deal has the salary cap set to skyrocket past the $100 million mark next summer. Pretty fortuitous timing! Well, it’s like I always say: the universe works in mysterious ways when the potential exists to snag absurd quantities of cake. Or, err, um, another slang term for money. Sorry: I forgot it’s still too soon. (Jokes aside, it’s possible that Brown, who’s estimated to have made more than $60 million over the course of the 12-plus seasons he spent in the NBA, really is just itching to get back to competing.)
The 34-year-old Brown, a 6-foot-11-inch prep star whom the Washington Wizards in 2001 made the first-ever high schooler taken with the first selection in the NBA draft, last played in the pros in February of 2013 as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Seven months earlier, the Sixers induced scads of arched eyebrows when they signed Brown — at that point more than a decade removed from the brutal berating by Wizards owner/teammate Michael Jordan that many believe shattered his confidence and submarined his career, eight years past the most consistently productive ball he’d played in the NBA, having settled into his position as a below-average rotation big man who’d played for five teams over the previous five seasons — to a two-year, $6 million contract. He’d make 22 appearances in a Sixer uniform, spending most of his first season injured and/or reportedly out of shape; after beginning Year 2 on the injured list, too, Philly waived him less than a month into the season.
In the nearly three years since that jettisoning, we hadn’t heard much about the former Wizards, Sixers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Bobcats and Golden State Warriors big man. It’s possible that Brown’s new agency, which also represents NBA players Luol Deng, Manu Ginobili and Sasha Vujacic but primarily reps international talent, could line up a new gig for Brown in a European or Asian league. If he’s got his heart set on returning to the NBA, though, it very much remains to be seen whether there’s much of a market for the services of an about-to-be-35-year-old center whose primary calling cards in the latter stage of his career were defensive rebounding and post defense in the NBA of 2016. In a post-Yi-return era, hope springs eternal, but we’re going to have to see Kwame in uniform, in camp, and putting pen to paper on a new deal before we really believe this comeback tale, too.
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