Marc Berman of the New York Post wrote about the Knicks pursuit of Peekskill, NY native and free agent Elton Brand this morning.
Brand, the 34-year-old Westchester County product, is a free agent, seeking one last contract before retirement. The Knicks, coincidently, have a dire need for another big man off the bench and are trying to snag him as their first free-agent acquisition this summer.
The Knicks have scant money left for free agency — only $1.7 million on their mini mid-level exception. And they have all those veteran minimum deals of $1.4 million to fill out their roster. The Knicks have 10 players solidified for their training-camp roster and can add five more, and are trying to net a third point guard and a small forward.
“We’re just trying to get Elton a contract that is fair for his value in this marketplace,’’ said Brand’s agent, David Falk, who repped Patrick Ewing.
Brand was picked up by the Mavericks last year after being apart of the NBA’s amnesty clause last off season. He averaged 7.2 points and 6.0 rebounds last season in just about 21 minutes per game off the bench and as a starter at times.
He was a high school basketball star at Peekskill High School before going off to Duke for college. He was the #1 overall pick in the 1999 Draft by the Bulls and has played for them along with the Clippers, 76ers as well averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game in his career.
If the Knicks can find a way to convince Brand to take a hometown discount to finish up his career in New York, then that would be pretty impressive.
Brand is obviously not the same player he was with the Bulls and Clippers after his Achilles injury in 2007. But, he can be a help on the boards and still can hit the 10-15 foot jumper when needed.
With the Knicks seemingly lukewarm at best when it comes to bringing back Kenyon Martin, it looks like they have decided to go all out in trying to get Brand.
I really don’t think he will find the offers out there to be worse than what the Knicks will be able to give him. With the contracts going out right now to guys like Francisco Garcia and Carlos Delfino, I wonder if a team with more money wont surprise Brand with a better deal.
The forward spot for the Knicks right now is thin when it comes to rebounding. Melo can hold his own but Amar’e and Bargnani are not exactly guys known for getting a lot of boards these days.
Having a guy off the bench that can get rebounds, score a little bit and give Chandler/Amar’e/Bargnani rest would be very helpful to the Knicks.
Brand or Martin can be that guy. Hopefully one of them is a Knick come next season.