Elton Brand grew up starring for Peekskill High School in upstate New York, a place more famous then for breeding heavyweight champions than world class basketball players. He starred for his AAU team, the Long Island Panthers, alongside fellow New York native Lamar Odom as they dominated the circuit. For 18 years, the Big Apple was the place he called home as a basketball player which would no longer be the case after his two-year stint at Duke University. This homecoming finally would be in the best interest of both Brand and the New York franchise.
The New York Knicks are coming off an excruciating second round loss to the Indiana Pacers in which their biggest problem was finding alternative ways to score in the front court besides the lob and Carmelo Anthony. Their first move of the offseason, trading for Andrea Bargnani, gave them a space-opening seven-footer off the bench. The move to sign Brand, even at his senior NBA age of 34, would bring a more complete offensive package to the table as opposed to signing Kenyon Martin, who brought toughness to the Knicks that wasn’t previously there. No amount of toughness could hide the that if you take the alley-oop away, Martin just becomes a pick-setter on offense.
Brand, for all of his accomplishments in the NBA, hasn’t had much playoff success. The two-time NBA All-Star and one time All-NBA player has only been out of the first round twice.
Other teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks all have extended overtures inquiring about Brand’s services. After the Dwight Howard saga, all of these teams are light years away from contending for any upper tier spots in their respective conferences.
The Knicks fit Brand’s needs to play for a contender and be a valuable contributor in their hopes for a championship. Knicks fans should hope that this more than nostalgia brings Brand home to their franchise.