Is former Clippers forward Elton Brand nearing retirement?


Dating back to the 2000s, there aren’t many memorable Los Angeles Clippers when excluding those on the team now — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, etc. The most notable of the scarce group? One Elton Brand, and per The Journal News, has received a lack of interest through the free agency process.

"Brand, a Peekskill High graduate, has completed 16 seasons playing professional basketball, and he’s not sure if he will be returning to the court with the NBA for a 17th year.“So far, I haven’t gotten the phone call,” he said during a break in the Youth Day basketball clinic.He’s noncommittal about retirement plans.“We’ll see what happens,” he said."

Since Brand’s ugly departure from the Clippers, clouded in he-said, she-said about why the forward didn’t return to the franchise (Brand’s agent says the Clippers low-balled him; former head coach Mike Dunleavy blames Brand’s agent), we saw former All-Star transition from star to role, thanks in part to a ruptured Achilles injured suffered in his final season in Los Angeles. Most recently, Brand has been a member of the Atlanta Hawks (the last two seasons to be exact); this past season, Brand, in a small role, averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 36 games (four starts).

To this day it’s unfortunate that Brand’s prime — or pre-injury years for better phrasing — was wasted on a team with a limited ceiling. At his best, the New York native averaged 24.7 points on 52% shooting, 10 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game during the 2005-06 season, a stat line seen prior to — per Basketball-Reference statistical database — Brand by only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6x), Shaquille O’Neal (4x), David Robinson (3x), Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon (2x), and former Clippers (or Buffalo Braves for the older folks) great Bob McAdoo, and afterwards, only by Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. In this particular season, Brand, with Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell flanked aside him and Dunleavy anchoring the ship, led the Clippers to 47 wins, which at the time was the franchise’s best win output since 1974-75 when McAdoo won MVP, and lead the team to its first conference semi-finals appearance since ’75-76, eventually falling to the Denver Nuggets 1-4.

The Clippers, namely Donald Sterling, surely have their faults for why the Clippers weren’t a better team during Brand’s time, but it comes down to a lack of talent — the second round was peak for that Clippers team. Imaging Brand with similar cast to what superstar Blake Griffin is surrounded with going into the 2015-16 season (Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, etc.), head coach included (Doc Rivers), and what we have on our hands is one of the most talked about forwards of the last ten years — success aside, Brand, or at least his 2005-06 season, should be such.

In regards to Brand’s future in the NBA, at age 36, things aren’t promising. If unable to find a deal before the regular season arrives, Brand’s best bet will be latching onto a team in need of big man depth, particularly in search of a big inclined to defend, during the buyout period post-All-Star break.

As with any former star, it’s sad to see Brand leave the NBA in this way, if last season is his last, but what’ll never fade is how he sits as one of the most talented Clippers in the franchise’s long history.

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