Sixers power forward Elton Brand was on the roster for Steve Nash’s charity soccer game on Wednesday in New York, and as the participants milled around and prepared for warm-ups, he gave SI.com a quick one-on-one:
SI.com: You were banged up in Philadelphia’s second-round series against Boston. How are you feeling now?
Brand: I’m much better. I’m feeling very good. Your body sometimes just needs a week or two for you to get back feeling right.
SI.com: I remember a shoulder injury. And another little injury or two. Was it just a bunch of little things that added up? How much did it affect your play?
Brand: It was a bunch of small things. But everybody is dealing with something late in the season–and especially in a season that was so short.
SI.com: Can you look back and enjoy your first long playoff run in Philly — the louder crowds, the new owners, and all of that? Or does losing that Boston series basically wipe all that way?
Brand: It was really fun, especially for our home crowd to get into it the way they did. But, man, I wish we could have gotten that Game 7.
SI.com: I remember watching that game and thinking, “Philly is going to lose in part because Rajon Rondo is going nuts with threes and long jumpers, and that can’t be easy to swallow.”
Brand: What are the odds, right? But then seeing him play against Miami — that one game where he scored 44 points or something — I felt a little better. Because I was sick about it, man. I was sick.
SI.com: Some players tune out of the playoffs once their team is out. Sounds like you keep watching, right?
Brand: Usually I don’t, actually. But I had to this year.
Brand: Like everyone else, I wanted to see if Miami could do it. I wanted to see if LeBron could do it. And they found a way.
SI.com: Were you surprised at all that Lou Williams opted out of his contract?
Brand: No, no. I mean, he led our team in scoring off the bench. He had a great season. No player likes to be in the last year of their contract without some comfort. I do hope he comes back, though.
SI.com: The draft is tomorrow, which means Andre Iguodala’s name is in every other trade rumor. Do you just ignore all of that?
Brand: Yeah, yeah — you just have to roll with it and see what happens. And you have to remember: It’s not always greener on the other side. I gotta talk to my friend Sammy D [Samuel Dalembert] about that.
SI.com: You heard he was traded to Milwaukee today, I assume …
Brand: Yeah. And when he was here [in Philadelphia], he always wanted to go somewhere else. Now I wonder if he wishes he was still with us, since he has been moved so many times.
SI.com: Sixers president Rod Thorn has raved about you, but you have a contract big enough that it will come up in discussions about the amnesty clause. Has the team talked to you about that? Has Thorn or anyone else said to you explicitly, “We are not going to use the amnesty clause on you”?
Brand: Not yet. [Starts chuckling]. You know, there are some great free agents out there they might want to go out and get. Kris Humphries is out there. Other guys are out there.