When Elton Brand was brought to Atlanta on a one-year deal last off-season, there was little expectation for him. However, it’s safe to say that he was worth every penny of his $4 million deal after stepping up big time following the season-ending injuries to All-Star center Al Horford and backup Gustavo Ayon.
Brand averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in just over 19 minutes for the Hawks this season, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He started 15 games for Atlanta this season, and was a constant contributor when the Hawks battled injuries. At one point, he was the only healthy center on the roster, and he played well when having to start for the embattled team.
After the season was over, Brand said that he would have to evaluate everything in terms of a return, but he is now changing his tune. According to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, Brand is ready to play next season.
“My body feels good,” Brand said. “I’m already training for next season.”
Brand is an unrestricted free agent, and can sign with any team after the moratorium ends on July 1st. His return to Atlanta is unclear, but bringing him back on a veteran’s minimum deal would certainly be a bonus for the Hawks. They could look to move on from Brand in the draft though, and the players they have brought in for workouts could indicate that they may draft a power forward.
Next year will be the 16th season for the former No. 1 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft.