Monday , September 26 2022

Elton Brand's legacy will never be tied to Markelle Fultz outcome


The Sixers gave up a valuable asset to move up two spots to draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 overall.

It was a bold move by Bryan Colangelo and, next to burner accounts, will be the lasting mark of the former GM.

Elton Brand is the general manager of the Sixers now. He did not decide to do business with Danny Ainge, who seems to know he was selling damaged goods. He did not give up an unprotected first-round pick from a perpetually bad team.

If Brand was to trade Fultz for a bag of basketballs – which has been suggested by much of the fan base – it would not be an indictment on him. His predecessor is the one forever linked to that deal.

Brand's legacy is now tied to Jimmy Butler. So far, those returns are impressive. Butler is a pending free agent with the signing of this offseason will also be incumbent upon Brand. How this long-term deal works, how Butler continues to progress with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and, of course, the overall success of the team, will be Brand's legacy.

If he trades Fultz for a 37-year-old Kyle Korver, he will not be blamed for not getting the appropriate value for a guy that was the first overall pick a year ago. He will probably be praised for getting out of an ugly situation and being able to keep a sharpshooter that can help spread the floor for his stars.

If he is able to acquire a Trevor Ariza from the Suns, he will be regarded as a master stroke at this point. Getting a two-way wing that can improve your struggling bench and possibly help you reach your lofty goals for a disgruntled 20-year-old who has lost his backup role to T.J. McConnell? Yeah, that's a win for Brand.

It's time to separate ourselves from what Colangelo has given up to acquire Fultz and focus on what Fultz is right now. He's struggling massively with his shot – whether it's his shoulder, wrist, thumb or head. He's essentially forcing himself out of a winning situation with a coach who handed him a starting spot. Not many GMs are going to be lining up to get that.

It's sad that it's come to this. When we found out on the lottery night that the Celtics would be getting the first overall pick, I was upset to think about the fact that Ainge would get Fultz. That's when he finished the biggest fleece in sports since Jerry Jones got a king's ransom for Herschel Walker, the Celtics would now get a guy I thought he was going to be a star.

He could still be one. Philadelphia is the place where it will happen.

And none of that is on Elton Brand.

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