Unceremoniously released Wednesday through the amnesty clause by the Philadelphia 76ers, Elton Brand became the subject of something like a silent auction. On the NBA’s new “amnesty waivers,” teams had a chance to make offers on the 6-foot-9 forward with the most lucrative deal the new destination for the 33-year-old former all-star.
Late Friday, the league announced that . . . drum roll, please. . . the Dallas Mavericks had the winning waiver bid, so to speak.
“Excited,” Brand said when reached Friday by ESPN.com. “I figured that I’d be claimed [off waivers] and that’s definitely the destination I was hoping for.”
Just as exciting for the Mavericks is that they get a quality big man and do not have to pay his $18.2 million salary for the upcoming season; the 76ers must pay it.
“It’s going to be great playing with someone of Dirk Nowitzki’s caliber,” Brand said. “Chris Kaman is still a really good player and is going to show everybody that. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about coach [Rick] Carlisle.”
Only teams under the salary cap were eligible to bid on claiming Brand off waivers. He would have become an unrestricted free agent had he cleared waivers, but the Mavericks were determined not to let the opportunity to claim Brand pass as they continue their recovery from missing out on top free-agent targets Deron Williams and Steve Nash.
The Mavericks have rallied this week to add Brand, the former All-Star center Kaman and starter-level point guard Darren Collison all to n one-year deals, enabling Dallas to preserve maximum salary-cap flexibility for the summer of 2013 and its planned pursuits of stars such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
Brand said he knows he’ll be expected to play center alongside Nowitzki, despite the fact that the German is taller, but the former All-Star, said he welcomes the opportunity.
“I did it all last season,” Brand said of guarding centers. “Of course, there’s a few guys we all have trouble with, but I’m not worried about it all.”