After celebrating his 36th birthday, Elton Brand, barley playing these days for the Atlanta Hawks, is probably getting closer and closer to the end of his NBA career, very likely to retire at the end of the season.
It’s not that Brand is actually doing too much right now. He has played in 22 games, averaging 2.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13.1 minutes a night. If it’s not about garabge time or an injury to one of the big men, there’s a good chance that Brand is going to sit the entire game without ever taking off his training suit.
Brand is a positive influence in the locker room and maybe that’s something that a team without a lot of experienced players need, but at some point even that kind of contribution doesn’t merit taking up a roster spot which seems to become more valuable by the day for NBA teams.
Brand himself has said that at his age, it’s mostly about how someone feels at the end of the season. Even if he does think his body can hold up in another year of NBA training, travelling and yes, maybe actually playing from time to time, chances are slim that someone is going to offer him a contract.
A two-time NBA All-Star (2002, 2006), Brand has played for the Chicago Bulls (the team that drafted him with the number one overall pick), Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76es, Dallas Mavericks and since 2013, the Hawks. He has a career average of 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, but had four seasons in his career averaging 20-10 or better. He was co-rookie of the year in 2000 along with Steve Francis
Maybe on his final days, weeks and months as an NBA player, he’ll finally get to taste a deep playoff run, something that he hasn’t had the fortune of experiencing. Who knows, maybe in a weird year like this, Brand can go out with an NBA championship ring.