Elton Brand understands Sixers' offseason moves

Posted: July 17, 2012

ELTON BRAND says he would have loved to return, but he also knew the Sixers had to make changes if they were going to improve.

Those changes included the Sixers opting to use their amnesty clause on Brand, who was claimed by the Dallas Mavericks late Friday. Dallas' winning bid was reportedly $2.1 million, but Brand still will be paid the full $18.1 million he is owed. The Sixers will pay the balance, but the money will not count against the salary cap.

The Sixers also are not bringing back guards Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks.

"I felt like we had to get better. Something had to get done," Brand said. "We were kind of bringing the same guys back and other teams were getting better … I didn't think we were improving too much."

Brand, agent David Falk and former Sixers president Ed Stefanski used the term "Philly Max" to describe the team's decision to give Brand a 5-year, $82 million deal in 2008. That was the maximum the Sixers could pay him under the salary cap. He turned down bigger offers because he felt the Sixers were committed to him.

Brand played in just 29 games in his first season and then endured the disaster of one season under Eddie Jordan. He averaged 15 points and 8.3 rebounds in his first season under Doug Collins and last season, he averaged 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 60 games.

"We just didn't get it done," Brand said. "I'm a realist. If we had got it done, I'd have still been there, absolutely. No hard feelings at all. I'll still root for the organization. I had a great time. The fans were great. We started changing the culture. It was good."

The Mavs have acquired Brand, center Chris Kaman, point guard Darren Collison and wing player Dahntay Jones this offseason.

Brand's hope was that he would land in Dallas, but, unlike in free agency, he had no control over his destination.

"Yeah, that was real tough," he said. "I didn't have too many gripes with the CBA or the lockout but that's one gripe, just that you don't have a choice. You play years and years and don't have a choice. But to not have a choice, and still end up in Dallas, it turned out great."

Adding Kwame Brown

Why did the Sixers decide to sign Kwame Brown?

The reply, courtesy of CEO Adam Aron on Sunday via Twitter, "6'11" 270 lbs, and all five of our coaches know him well.”

Brown, 30, agreed to a 2-year, $6 million deal on Friday, joining his seventh team. He played in nine games last season for Golden State before having season-ending surgery on his chest muscle.

The move reunites Brown and Doug Collins, who was Brown's first pro coach when Washington made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.

"Kwame and Doug have a relationship that I think really has grown over the years," agent Mark Bartelstein said. "It's a great fit … It gives Kwame a chance to play an integral role on a playoff team."

More from Aron

A few other points from Aron's Twitter session with fans Sunday:

Aron said he believes the Sixers right now are a better team than the one that ended last season. "We all do, but we will know for sure once we actually start playing." He said Collins "supported all [moves], enthusiastically." He said the team showed progress last season but needed to continue to improve.

Asked about fans' reaction to the moves, he replied, "Enjoying reading your ‘colorful' reviews of our roster moves. Some popular, some not. Our basketball execs convinced they made smart moves. In total, 76ers got younger, bigger, more athletic, better shooting, and loaded with 1 and 2 year contracts giving enormous flexibility."

Asked if the Sixers were writing off the coming season in order to contend in 2013-14, Aron said, "ABSOLUTELY NOT! Can't wait for opening night."

In off-the-court news, he said the Sixers will have a mascot next season, the Revolutionaries fan group will return and the team will wear blue jerseys.

He said a "state of the art" practice facility remains a "very high priority." n

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