I really, really don't get this.
All the talk about opting out to give the Clippers flexibility, all the talk about wanting to turn the Clippers around, all the talk about not being a quitter. Seems like that was talk.
The report on Yahoo that the Clippers pissed Brand off by giving him a take it or leave it offer is very disturbing. The Clippers were in a perfect position to give Brand whatever he wanted here. If it's me sitting across the table from him, here's how the conversation goes. "Elton, what do you want? Do you want more money? OK, whom should we trade away to free up more money for you? You said you wanted to play with Baron Davis, and we got him, but we'll get rid of him and give you more money if that's what you want. You play GM of the Clippers, Elton. And your first priority is to make you happy. We thought that less money and more winning was the way you wanted to go, and that's why we now have Baron Davis. But you play GM. Sign yourself and whoever else you can, and let us know when it's done."
Mark Heisler's column is referencing a 10 YEAR OLD grudge that David Falk holds against the Clippers from the 1998 draft when they took Michael Olowokandi instead of Falk's client Mike Bibby (as if the Clippers haven't been punished enough for that one). Heisler says that the last Clipper offer never even made it to Elton - Falk stopped relaying them. Here's the thing about that - didn't the Clippers just release Falk's Sam Cassell last February? This guy remembers something that happened 10 years ago, but forgets what happened 4 months ago?
As for what the Clippers do now, my immediate reaction is sit on the money. I don't see anyone out there worth going after. The idea of another season of Tim Thomas, starting power forward, is almost too much to bear, but what's the alternative? I just don't think overpaying Josh Smith (and they would have to overpay, almost by definition, to make an offer the Hawks won't match) is the answer. So sit on the money, use the Mobley and Thomas contracts wisely, and in the worst case you suck for two more seasons and make a run at Chris Bosh in 2010. He's a media savvy guy. Maybe he'd like to make videos in LA as opposed to Toronto.
By the way, you think you feel bad? You think this comes as a blow to you? What about Baron Davis? Or Chris Kaman for that matter? Kaman thought he was FINALLY going to be playing next to Brand again on the Clippers front line. Now he finds out it's never going to happen.
I can't help but think back to the game against the Kings in April 2007 when the Clippers still controlled their 2007 playoff destiny. After the game Elton was steaming. He said that some guys didn't know what it took to win, that some guys quit, and that it was tough to take. Since that time, in 15 months, Elton Brand has played a total of 9 completely meaningless games in a Clippers uniform, and now he'll never play for the Clippers again. Yeah, I guess he's right. Some guys quit, and it is tough to take.