You have to give Elton Brand credit. He and his team have demonstrated some Presidential-quality message discipline. Without ever conveying arrogance or entitlement, Elton has been able to express to the press, the Clippers organization, and the Naçion that he very much wants to stay, all the while very specifically dictating the terms of his doing so.
So what happens from here?
- Elton could take a max contract from another team and never looks back. If you think Elton is insincere and merely using the Clips to leverage the max from a team he believes can contend, then this is the most plausible outcome.
- Elton signs a max contract with the Clippers, irrespective of what else they do. This might be more likely than we realize. Memphis certainly has a spot at the 4 for him with two incredibly promising talents at the wings in Rudy Gay and O. J. Mayo. But Memphis is a far cry from Elton's Boston fantasy. And it's Memphis, about as far away from the agencies and studios as you can get. Philadelphia has started to assemble something nice, but offers no guarantee of anything. Miami just drafted one of the most talented power forwards in recent memory. After a tour of the league, Elton could reason that his best situation remains in Los Angeles.
- Elton signs with the Clippers, but only if they pony up the cash for a legitimate #2 option. There are some decent options out there (Chris Duhon), but no one who's a difference maker at the point other than Gilbert Arenas, and that seems improbable. But one option might be a sign-and-trade utilizing Corey Maggette. It's highly unlikely that Corey is going to get the money he wants from either Memphis or Philadelphia. But there's probably a team out there that would prefer Corey's size to what they have. Chad Ford floated the idea of PHX. The Suns could use a durable 3, and could trade Leandro Barbosa's contract to obtain Corey. Clipperblog isn't a Barbosa guy -- is Barbosa really the right person to feed Elton on the block 20 times a night -- but Elton Brand may feel otherwise.
- Negotiations between the Clips and Elton become unproductive and both sides realize that a sign-and-trade might be best thing for all parties. This would enable the Clips to go into uber-rebuilding mode. They'd take back a hellacious expiring contract (Wally Szczerbiak or the like), assure themselves another Top 5 pick, and, in the process, clear vast expanses of cap space to sign a max player Summer 2009, with money to burn.
Outcomes #3 and #4 would each require a great deal of risk from the Clippers, which makes outcomes #1 and #2 far more likely.