In discussing the Corey Maggette-to-Orlando rumor yesterday, I mentioned that it was a foregone conclusion that Maggette would opt out of the final year of his contract, which was scheduled to pay him $7M. So when he actually went ahead and opted out, it wasn't that big of a deal. But Elton Brand? That's another story.
EB was 50-50 about opting out, and had stated that he and his agent would announce their decision as close to the deadline as possible. It was obviously a tough choice, considering the fact that there was the little matter of $16.4 million dollars that Brand would be leaving on the table if he went ahead and opted out ... which he announced officially on Monday night.
"We're opting out," Brand said. "It definitely doesn't mean I'm leaving the Clippers. We're trying to work it out. My intention is to stay."
Now then. This is a pretty ballsy move by Brand, especially when you try and deduce which other team in the league would sign him to a deal that would pay a 20-10 guy that type of money beginning next season. The answer is: there isn't one. No team is going to sign Brand to a deal that begins at $16M per and goes on from there. So could Elton be the among the rarest of athletes that is motivated solely by winning at this point, with the financials being a secondary consideration? It appears so.
Brand (through his agent) says that his intention is to stay with the Clippers, but he'd like to see them sign another free agent first to get them back on the winning track. He's got a burgeoning carer in the film industry, as well as a pregnant wife to consider in L.A., which makes me believe he's serious about wanting to stay. But by opting out of his contract, he's obviously serious about winning too. And that's something that isn't exactly a certainty in Clipper-land, especially with Corey Maggette likely on his way out of town.