Elton Brand has reached a verbal agreement to sign a multiyear contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to an NBA source who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on player movements.Okay, this wasn't a complete surprise -- there were rumblings last night that this might be a possibility, and Philly's salary dump of a trade earlier today was obviously setting up a larger move -- but it has to feel like a kick in the ribs to Clippers fans dreaming of Brand and B.Dizzle leading the Clips back to the playoffs.
The deal is believed to be in the $80-million range and expected to span five years.
Until the last 48 hours or so, the Sixers were believed to be focusing most of their interest on Hawks restricted free agent Josh Smith, but the addition of Brand, who's much more polished offensively, and the expected return of Andre Iguodala, who's a restricted free agent himself, makes the 76ers instant contenders in the East with an intriguing core of youth and experience. This is a team that gave the Pistons fits in the first round this past year even without a legitimate low-post scoring threat. If Brand regains his All-Star form and Philly's youngsters continue to develop, there's no telling what kind of damage they can do in 2007-08.