During the offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers will again be on the lookout for players willing to accept the veteran’s minimum. One of the top names on their lists should be Elton Brand. Brand was once an All-Star for the Los Angeles Clippers, a double-double machine who could help anchor a defense even if he was undersized. His game has slowly regressed due to injuries and age, but he can still be an excellent role player.
Brand is currently under contract with the Atlanta Hawks, earning about $4 million, but is on track to be a free agent at the end of the season. He has played admirably for a team battling to secure the eighth seed in the East. Multiple injuries have given Brand more playing time, and he has responded well. Since February 1, Brand has averaged 8.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
While he is not an All-Star power forward anymore, Brand has proven to be a true professional when it comes to basketball. He plays hard on every possession, and can add a lot of value to the Lakers. He is still a very good individual defensive player, but understands the concept of team defense as well. He can block shots, play pick and roll defense, and guard players one on one in the post. On offense, he has a very efficient mid-range game, but does not need the offense to run through him in order to be successful. More importantly, he is a leader in the locker room, and other players respect his attitude towards the game.
Brand might choose to play for a contender next year, but if the Lakers play their cards right, they could be what he is looking for. Brand spent his best years playing in Los Angeles, and should be willing to take a pay cut to play with Kobe Bryant and possibly another superstar. His veteran leadership would be a welcome to addition to a struggling Lakers organization.
Brendan Patel covers the Los Angeles Lakers for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brendanpatel.