And the Old School Chevy drives off into the sunset. (with a big fat check in the trunk)
The Sixers officially parted ways with Elton Brand this afternoon, electing to use the amnesty clause to get his $18 million cap hit off of their salary cap.
"On behalf of the
Philadelphia 76ers, I want to thank Elton
for his contributions to our organization and city," said Sixers
President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn. "Decisions of this nature
are never easy,
particularly when it involves a player of Elton's talent and character.
He worked tirelessly for the overall good of the team every time he
put on a Sixers uniform and we wish him nothing but the best."
It's hard to find a guy making so much damn money and not really performing up to the level typically associated with such lucrative deals as universally liked as Brand. A lot of people talk about certain guys being consummate professionals, and in my relatively short time covering Philadelphia sports teams, he's the one player I've dealt with who really lives up to all of that hype.
I'll always remember the day he signed in Philly. During the press conference EB seemed genuinely touched that Philly gave him every penny they could, dubbing it the "Philly max." Anything "max" is usually tough to live up to.
Some thought his getting amnestied was inevitable, but I wasn't as certain. Their roster isn't necessarily better without him on it, but it does appear to be better suited to prepare for the future.
Doug Collins always spoke incredibly highly of EB, especially after 2011.
"He's got the heart of a lion," Collins said. "Just competes every single moment. I'm
glad he's on my team. He played with a broken left hand, a dislocated
right pinky finger. Never ever complained. One of the ultimate pros I've
ever been around."
That heart will be playing for another NBA team next season, with Dallas being the leading candidate. One can only hope that Elton's heart rubbed off on many of the Sixers youngsters. If it didn't, we may be in trouble.
It wasn't always easy for Brand in Philly, to ride the Old School Chevy analogy a bit further, he had to go to the shop a whole damn lot. But he had a couple of breakout playoff performances against the Celtics during the 2012 run. He fought through the shoulder pain and showed that heart and flashed that once uber reliable midrange jumper. He'll leave Philly with his head held high.
His head is always held high.