In the nineties everybody was a Bulls fan, at least the people I got in touch with after I picked up the rock in the early nineties. I became a fan too, and Scottie Pippen was my favorite player back then. But after all the internal power struggles that were going on throughout the dynasty years, the two Jerrys (Reinsdorf, Krause) dismantled the team. By the start of the ‘98/’99 season you knew the Jerrys made a huge mistake. Their egos were more important than the likes of Jordan, Pippen or Phil Jackson, so basically they made a choice to lose games. They probably named it “rebuilding”. Bad teams sometimes are very lucky in the Draft, so in the summer of 1999 the Bulls drafted Elton Brand, who played collegiate at Duke for two years. The rest of his team was atrocious (Artest not included, but Dickey Simpkins, Chris Carr, dinosaur Will Perdue, to name a few…. Damn), but Brand was Co-rookie of the Year, sharing the award with Steve Francis. From his first season on, Brand was a 20 and 10 guy, and continued to put the weight of the franchise on his broad shoulders in his second season. So what the Jerrys do? They traded their young and promising franchise player away to the Los Angeles Clippers. We all know what happened after that in Chicago, once again making a very dumb mistake, but let’s stay focused on Elton Brand’s career.
With him being a Clipper, he was traded from one doomed franchise to another. It must have been a burden to keep on playing for bad organizations, which don’t seem to be interested in winning a whole lot of games. Brand however, with his workhorse attitude, continued to do what he always did. His scoring dipped to 18.2 ppg, but he swatted away two shots every game, and continued to excel at both ends of the courts. And his rebounding numbers? They only went up. But still, even after his scoring improved, the Clippers did not. “Winning” hasn’t been high on the to-do list of owner Donald Sterling. At least that’s what I thought; until last week it came out of nowhere (to me) that Baron Davis would leave the Warriors to become a member of L.A.’s “other team”. Davis and Brand…. Could it really be true? I was looking forward to Clippers-Lakers games, because they finally would be relevant again. Clippers should’ve been proud and could start dreaming about the playoffs maybe? But on the night Davis signed his contract with the Clippers, Brand was moving to Philly.
When Brand opted out of his contract this summer, it would make you wonder why he did that. Maybe to see what the organization would do? Would they finally get him some help, or just be content with mediocrity? Then Brand sold some of his L.A. property, so what was that about? Moving? Or just doing business? A day after that it was reported by ESPN that the Sixers were still very much in the race for Brand’s services, but I figured he would just re-sign with the Clippers. Apparently I was wrong, and many others with me. And like The Killers said; for reasons unknown he left and signed with Philly, breaking hearts of some and being embraced by others. I read that Brand just wanted to go back East, some say his agent David Falk was behind all of this and screwed the Clippers. I don’t know why he left, but I would sure like to know it. I can’t picture Elton Brand as a bad guy, I just can’t. In all those years I never heard anything bad about him, or from him. So I ask you: what happened?
All I know is that one of the sweetest days of Baron Davis’ career turned sour fast.