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daleja424
07-01-2008, 05:28 PM
Here is your new core nucleus, Heat fans, the triumvirate to make this rebuilding process happen with the speed of time-lapse photography:

Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley, Elton Brand.

Pat Riley has loved Brand's game for years, and the possibility of getting him now -- in this summer's free-agency period -- arose unexpectedly Tuesday when the sneakered Sir Elton surprised most by opting out of the last year of his Los Angeles Clippers contract and becoming an unrestricted free agent.

I have the mental image of Riley injuring an index finger, so fast and hard was he punching the phone buttons to reach Brand's agent upon getting the news.

Many will recall that Riley thought he'd landed Brand in 2003, when the player signed an offer sheet with Miami only to see the cheap Clippers stun the basketball world by matching it. (In fact the contract he is opting out of is the one Miami gave him that the Clippers matched).

Now the Clippers talk about hoping to re-sign both Brand and Cory Maggette, who also has opted out. But Riley can make a case, even coming off last season's nightmare, that with Wade and Beasley the Heat is closer to giving Brand his elusive title shot than the woeful ''other'' L.A.: Less Angeles.

The Heat acquiring Brand in a sign-and-trade for Shawn Marion would work financially in terms of the salary cap, and the Clippers would have big interest in Marion as a direct small-forward replacement for Maggette.

Hey, it might not happen, OK? But it could, and isn't dreaming big what free agency is about?

This is supposed to a bargain-shopping summer for Riley and the Heat, but if there is an opportunity to get the long-coveted Brand now, why wait?

Brand just turned 29. He has enough of his prime left to help lead Miami back into contender status, and to help convince Wade to re-up with the Heat rather than sign elsewhere as a free agent after the 2009-2010 season.

It may be very difficult to keep Wade from signing with his hometown Bulls if Chicago should lose LeBron James at the same time. Crazy-money alone might not be enough. It might take a championship-ready team. And Miami would have Brand and a fully blossomed Beasley to help D-Wade stake that claim.

Keeping Dwyane happy is a large part of what is going on here, after all. It was a factor in backing his Olympic intentions. It was a factor in the Beasley-Chalmers draft. And it would be a factor in landing Brand.

''We don't know what Dwyane's going to do,'' Riley said on draft day last week. ``But we think we're going to be good enough where he's going to want to extend [his contract] by next year.''

Of course all of this chatter about Brand presumes his good health. I am not a doctor (though I occasionally play one in the newspaper), but Brand is said to be fully recovered from the Achilles' tear that shelved him most of last season.

When healthy he is a 20-point, 10-rebound career scorer, a 51-percent shooter and a shot-blocker who would give Miami an inside presence at power forward. Brand also is renowned as a terrific team guy and great locker-room presence.

Getting Brand means the Heat would move Beasley closer to the perimeter as a small forward, and the two would give Miami enough down-low scoring and rebounding to make center (and size at center) less a priority. In this scenario Udonis Haslem would be odd-man-out but might work as an undersized center or have trade value.

A Brand-Beasley forward tandem wouldn't give Miami a preferable matchup against the opponent's small forward, but I suspect Riley would accept that and trust coach Erik Spoelstra to work around that challenge.

Brand demonstrated in '03 how much he likes Miami and Riley, and you've got to figure an in-his-prime Wade and a rising star in Beasley would make the Heat all the more attractive now.

Brand's agent, David Falk, told reporters in L.A., ``He watched what happened [in Boston] when a few stars get together and agree to have a communal effort.''

Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen combined with Paul Pierce to form a championship mix for the Celtics. Might Brand and Beasley added to Wade do the same here?

Adding Brand alone would give this free-agency period a starkly different feel than a year ago, when just about everything went wrong. Miami let both Jason Kapono and James Posey get away, failed to land anyone of significance it had interest in, and settled for ill-fated signings like Smush Parker and Penny Hardaway.

Pulling the trigger on Brand would still leave Miami with enough money to sign a stopgap answer at point guard, a starter for at least this coming season with broken-down Jason Williams surely headed elsewhere and while we see what rookie Mario Chalmers develops into.

Miami could use a sign-and-trade to go after a more coveted point guard such as newly minted free agent Baron Davis, but he's a shoot-first PG. Better they should spend on Brand and get a pass-first mind-set at the point.

Riley has said he'd prefer to make his big free-agent splash in a year. In other words, keep Marion for this coming season and save the salary cap room. But there is no assurance you'd get better later than you'd get with Brand now.

Then, two years from now, Miami would still have the financial wherewithal to have a shot at holding onto Wade. And presumably the contending team, too.

Really really good read here. Lets do it Pat. I am thinking that it might cost us one of our youngsters to convince the Clipps to trade him here...

kntresistheheat
07-01-2008, 06:02 PM
This makes sense, But I hope Elton does not do a KG and think he should feel like he owes the clipps something? Where did this article come from?

Master Mind
07-01-2008, 06:03 PM
Good find Daleja!!!

daleja424
07-01-2008, 06:05 PM
Good find Daleja!!!

wasn't that good... it was on the front page of the herald sports section online...

http://www.miamiherald.com/611/story/590153.html

Master Mind
07-01-2008, 06:41 PM
wasn't that good... it was on the front page of the herald sports section online...

http://www.miamiherald.com/611/story/590153.html

Better than nothing...

_Sn1P3r_
07-01-2008, 06:46 PM
Get Brand to Miami!

fins08
07-01-2008, 08:22 PM
Resign him for next year. He is 30. I'd rather not get Boozer or Brand in 09 and get Bosh in 2010 or T-Mac or Amare or Lebron or whoever great player is out there.

Mambo Kings
07-01-2008, 10:40 PM
Baron Davis just signed with the Clippers...Elton Brand should be next.

It was fun to think about for 24 hours, but it's not going to happen.

kntresistheheat
07-01-2008, 10:45 PM
It's a verbal agreement, anything still can happend I think Baron is waiting on what brand does before he signs?




Baron Davis just signed with the Clippers...Elton Brand should be next.

It was fun to think about for 24 hours, but it's not going to happen.

Master Mind
07-01-2008, 11:09 PM
It's a verbal agreement, anything still can happend I think Baron is waiting on what brand does before he signs?

Good point...

Mambo Kings
07-02-2008, 02:07 AM
Brand via his agent has said, in so many words, that he will resign with the Clippers if they get a stud PG and show they're serious about winning.

Baron Davis is the best thing out there right now and, verbal agreement or not, he's likely all the gesture that Brand wanted to see before resigning.