Let’s just get straight to the point here: It’s time for Elton to go. He’s the 10th highest paid player as of this past regular season. It’s not going to happen. I said the 2010-2011 season was the best time to trade him. I knew this season wouldn’t be as good for him; even before the lockout.
Remember the off-season after the Sixers lost to the Pistons? That was 2008. The story has been beaten to death many times before so I’ll keep it brief. Sixers needed a big man and Elton seemed to fit the bill. Stop shaking your head about “They should’ve went with Josh Smith” I wanted that too but there was no way that was going to happen.
At the time, Brand was one of a few active players to have career averages of 20 points and 10 rebounds. He wasn’t Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett (a couple of other players in that same group) but Brand was what the Sixers needed. He was coming off that serious injury but his numbers still looked good.
At the end of the day, the injury he had wasn’t really what messed up his first couple of seasons here. First season Mo Cheeks was having a hard time getting his fast team to adjust to having a slow big guy down there. Then, Elton had a freak accident while falling for a pump fake and messing up his shoulder. He tried to come back during the season but it just didn’t happen. He had season ending surgery.
And then the 2009-2010 season came around. Dear Lord.
Not only did Elton struggle, but obviously the whole team was having problems. Loss after loss. The highlight was the return of Allen Iverson. But, even then, the season was just terrible. I don’t like to remember it. So, the first two seasons of Elton Brand basketball was really not his fault as to why he wasn’t very productive.
The 2010-2011 was Elton’s best season with the Sixers. I really wanted him to be traded then; or at least that was when his trade value was highest if he still had any left. But no, Sixers decided to push for an inevitable playoff loss to the team that ended up being the Miami Heat (I saw a loss to whoever they met in the playoffs). And then this past season happened and Elton played okay but nobody is going to touch his contract. there’s no way.
I’m not on for the whole, “It’ll give us cap room to sign someone” train. I don’t think there’s a real game changer available this off-season the Sixers could get. Instead, with him gone, we can give playing time to players that will actually be around for a while as the team searches for their big man that they can put with Jrue Holiday and perhaps Evan Turner to build a championship contending team around.
Sixers can use the extra money to get a back-up PG for Jrue that can serve as a mentor. I keep saying it but Jrue needs a mentor badly. I really think his game can be elevated with the right type of player guidance. PG’s having a special responsibility on the court that only other good PG’s would be able to help him out with.
Perhaps grab a Center. Seriously. Grab a real Center that can at least defend the post. In any event, I think that letting go of Elton Brand is going to be good for the franchise moving forward. You can throw the trades out the window. they’re not happening. Maybe when he only has one year left but I think it’s just time to move on.
For me, Elton’s been a great professional. He’s fought hard every night. He wanted to earn his contract. If it’s possible, I would be fine with Elton on this team if he were a lot cheaper. Really, I like Brand. No problem with his game. He’s old but plays as hard as he can. But I’m sorry, that contract is too much to justify him any longer as a member of this team. I don’t think he’ll retire if the Sixers let him go. He still has a couple of good years left in my opinion and a team looking for a veteran big that would probably come off the bench would do well to grab Brand.