When the Philadelphia 76ers released Elton Brand by placing him on amnesty waivers, Brand didn’t really know where he was going to end up. It could have been in Charlotte or Sacramento, but instead he landed in Dallas, where the Mavericks claimed him by bidding $2.1 million.
Brand says of all the places he could have gone, Dallas was a great fit. There, he’ll rejoin center Chris Kaman — the two played together for the Los Angeles Clippers with some success — as well as get together with a different-looking lineup compared to the one that won a championship in Dallas just two years ago.
Elton Brand joined ESPN Dallas with Galloway and Company to discuss his feelings on landing in Dallas, the potential of this Mavericks team, rejoining Chris Kaman, if Dirk Nowitzki is still viable, if Father Time caught up with Brand last season and what it was like to play with Ron Artest in high school.
What was it that drew you to the Dallas Mavericks?:
“It actually wasn’t up to me because of the amnesty provision, but out of the teams that were under the cap — no disrespect to the Charlotte’s and Sacramento’s and team’s like that — but Dallas was a great fit for me. I was so glad when they picked me up off the amnesty waivers and put in that winning bid so I could go there. They’re a team coming off a championship two years ago. We know what kind of management they have. We know ownership wants to win and they have won and I’m sure they want to win again. And they’re a team with some nice, young pieces, so I really wanted to be a part of that.”
With the roster Dallas is assembling, what kind of potential does this team have?:
“I think we have to jell, we have to mesh of course, but I could see us playing with every team in the league — even the upper-echelon teams once we get together. I think management did a great job because we still have the flexibility next season if Dwight is still available or who knows what goes on with that. … But they’ll put a very formidable team on the court this year.”
You’ve played with Chris Kaman before. What works with you guys on the floor together?:
“He can shoot the mid-range, but he’s a true back-to-the-basket center. You don’t have too many of those in this league. He can finish with his left hand, right hand, and is a big presence rolling to the rim as a 7-footer who can finish. It opens it up for me and my mid-range game. Dirk shoots it out to the 3-point game, so he’s really going to enjoy playing with him.”
Charles Barkley has said that time has caught up to Dirk Nowitzki. What do you think about that?:
“He’s very viable. He’s such a match-up problem for any big guy and I think he said that ‘Father Time’ quote before Dirk won a championship, or at least went to the All-Star Game this year and proved everybody wrong again. He has a lot left in the tank. I, myself, have a lot left in the tank.”
What about you? Your numbers were down last year, why?:
“I feel great. I’m finally healthy. Father Time definitely knocked on the door, but you play to your role and last year my role was to be a defensive player [and] score when I needed to score. … As a veteran, I wanted to fit in and play that role. We got to Game 7 of the Eastern Semis. If we win that game and go to the Eastern Conference Finals, things might be different. … But yeah, Father Time is creeping up on me.”
What was it like playing AAU ball with Ron Artest back in high school?:
“He was nuts. He played hard; he played aggressive. … He would trip you; he’d do anything. That’s who he is. He’s a passionate player and he’s still that way. Guys don’t change much.”