On June 30th, a lot of stuff happened. The Clippers declined to offer Shaun Livingston a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. Corey Maggette opted out and became a free agent. Then Elton Brand opted out and became a free agent. And although I've insisted that it's all good news, it was still more than a little nerve-wracking. The Baron Davis opted out and became a free agent. Then a lot of speculation started that Davis and Brand might both be willing to take pay cuts to play for the Clippers. But it seemed a little to good to be true. Meanwhile, coach MDsr was having a romantic late supper with Beno Udrih.
On July 1st, a lot of stuff happened. Jose Calderon re-signed with the Raptors. Udrih re-signed with the Kings. The already slim pickings among free agent point guards were getting slimmer very quickly. But speculation heated up that Davis would sign with the Clippers. When one report said that a decision could come as early as Wednesday, it seemed to good to be true. And then it got better. The deal was done, and Davis and the Clippers had agreed to terms. Brand was clearly part of Davis' decision, and his own deal would be negotiated in short order. It cost the club favorite son Corey Maggette, but overall it was one of the great days in team history.
Today, July 2nd, there's nada.
Just rumors about what OTHER teams are throwing at our free agents. Corey Maggette will have his pick of contenders to play for while making the mid level. Oh, and the Summer League roster. And a massive contract offer from the Warriors to Brand, seemingly playing tit for tat.
I read the other day about a situation in a minor league baseball game where an ambidextrous pitcher was facing a switch hitting batter. The pitcher had his specially designed glove on his left hand, preparing to pitch right-handed - so the batter got into the box on the left. The pitcher switched his glove over - the batter asked for time and went to the other side of the plate. This went on for awhile, until the umpire put a stop to it.
There's no way the Clippers made an offer to Baron Davis that will cost them Elton Brand. No. Way. It is in fact my assumption that Baron's contract amount (which is completely determined by Elton's contract amount) was cleared with Brand and agent David Falk before Davis ever agreed to it. If the Warriors think they are changing the game by putting more money on the table, they aren't. And even if Brand decides he wants the money over the better teammate (it is a lot of cash, after), the Clippers will pull the plug on the Davis deal and give Elton what he wants. But don't forget - this was all Elton's idea. He'll sign with the Clippers for the lesser amount. For all intents and purposes, he already has.
So what's the delay? Who knows. Look, it's one day. According to the LA Times, Elton's traveling today. Maybe they just couldn't get everyone together. Besides, with all the speculation about collusion (frowned upon, if not necessarily illegal for players and agents), I think it behooves Elton to pretend to be interested in offers from the Warriors and the Sixers. So he'll listen. And then he'll sign with the Clippers for less.
I've been meaning to mention, and now's as good a time as any, that David Falk is Sam Cassell's agent as well. We said several times during the Cassell buy out fiasco last February, that the one and only good thing that could come out of releasing Sammy was that Falk would be more inclined to work with the Clippers when Brand's contract was due.
It was a tougher day today, waiting for good news that didn't come, watching the vultures start to circle. But the vultures won't touch the body as long as it's still kicking. And this deal is far from dead. Brand and Davis will be Clippers next season. Brand's deal will be announced soon. How soon? Maybe tomorrow. Maybe July 9th. But it will happen.
UPDATE: July 3, 9:40 AM Marc Stein of ESPN implies that there's a chance Brand will take the Warriors offer. Don't believe him. For one thing, when you read what he's written, even he doesn't believe Brand will be a Warrior. So why imply otherwise? These guys sell drama. With no official word from anyone, they're completely free to make this seem as tense as they like, as long as they don't say anything totally wrong that will make them look stupid later (and sometimes even then).
What evidence are we working with here? Next to nothing. He hasn't said he's a Clipper - so that's the absence of evidence. He flew to D.C. to meet face-to-face with his agent. As we've said from the beginning, if the Clippers were in real danger of losing EB for more money, they would simply say, "We'll back out of the deal with Baron and give you that money." Either way, Brand is a Clipper. The fact that Brand is in D.C. fits that scenario fine. The ball is totally in Brand's court, and he has two choices. More money and no Baron Davis in LA, or less money with Baron Davis in LA. Money in Oakland doesn't even make the list.
So, you're welcome to be nervous about the possibility of losing out on Baron Davis. That could happen, although I doubt it. But don't worry about Elton wearing that silly shiny gold uni next year. Not even a remote possibility.