|ELTON BRAND Beefs up 76ers|
The offseason started with a bang for the Los Angeles Clippers when they signed star guard Baron Davis.
That euphoria is expected to end today, when power forward Elton Brand reportedly will announce he has agreed to a multiyear contract with the Philadelphia 76ers and high-scoring swingman Corey Maggette will sign a five-year contract worth around $50 million with the Golden State Warriors.
No transactions can be announced until the NBA trade moratorium is lifted today.
The 76ers freed up cap room to sign Brand by agreeing to trade forward Rodney Carney and a No. 1 pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Associated Press reported yesterday. The 76ers will throw in reserve forward Calvin Booth, and acquired a second-round draft pick and Minnesota's $2.8 million trade exception gained in a 2007 deal with Miami.
The Los Angeles Times, citing an unidentified NBA source, reported on its website that Brand had reached a verbal agreement with the 76ers.
Brand's arrival would be a huge move for the Sixers, who have worked quickly to become contenders in the Eastern Conference. Brand is the low-post player Philadelphia desperately needed, averaging 20.3 points and 10.2 rebounds in nine seasons. Brand played eight games last season because of an Achilles' tendon injury.
Brand and Maggette opted out of their contracts with the Clippers last week but had said they would be willing to stay with the team.
Maggette, a 6-foot-6-inch swingman who led Los Angeles in scoring last season, should fit splendidly into Golden State coach Don Nelson's pell-mell style of play. He averaged 22.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists last season.
Davis, who was considered the Warriors' team leader until his abrupt decision to opt out of a $17 million deal for next season, accepted a smaller salary in LA for a long-term contract and the chance to team up with Brand and perhaps Maggette. Instead, Davis looks to be stuck on another rebuilding Clippers roster.
The Sixers were thought to be targeting Atlanta forward Josh Smith, who was brought to Philadelphia for a visit last week, but they did not give the restricted free agent an offer sheet. As a restricted free agent, the Hawks can match any offer made to the 6-9, 235-pound Smith.
"There are still a couple of other teams in the mix," said Wallace Prather, Smith's agent. "Philly just seemed to be the most serious at the time. There are more options out there. I guess Philly wanted to do different things on the court. No hard feelings or anything."
The trade with the 76ers allows the rebuilding Timberwolves, who have long been one of the worst cap managers in the league, to continue putting themselves in a position to be a major player on the free agent markets in 2009 and 2010.