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Davis confident Brand will stay

July 04, 2008|Jonathan Abrams | Times Staff Writer

Baron Davis is at the altar, ready to cement his marriage to the Clippers. He's just waiting for Elton Brand to join him.

In his first public comments concerning his soon-to-be-team, Davis said Thursday it was "time to come home."

"It means a lot for a kid growing up in the Los Angeles area and to be playing for the Clippers and playing in Southern California because it gives them hope," Davis said. "I want to inspire young kids in the community."

Davis, a two-time All-Star, left $17.8 million on the table when he opted out of the final season of his contract with the Golden State Warriors on Monday. He reached a verbal agreement to join the Clippers under a five-year, $65-million contract the next day.

Free-agent deals cannot be officially announced until the NBA's moratorium ends Wednesday and next year's salary cap is set.

In Davis, the Clippers see an electric point guard -- one that fills their primary weak spot. He attended UCLA, has ties to the film industry and has averaged 17.1 points and 7.2 assists in his nine-year NBA career.

He agreed to join the Clippers, he said, in part because of the lure of playing alongside an All-Star in Brand, who became a free agent when he opted out of his Clippers contract Monday.

Brand received a new contract offer for five years and about $70 from the Clippers, but the revitalized-salary-cap space Warriors swept in with a five-year, $90-million offer, according to multiple NBA sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss free-agent dealings.

Neither Brand nor his agent David Falk could be reached for comment Thursday. Brand is not expected to reach a decision until after the holiday and the Clippers and Falk did not discuss the offer Thursday, according to the sources.

Still, Davis expressed confidence in uniting with Brand.

"I cant wait to have an opportunity to play with one of the best big men in the game and one of the best underrated big men in the game," Davis said. "It's really a big reason why I wanted to do it. Just having somebody I can give the ball to and make plays."

"I'm not worried," Davis added. "He has to make the decision that's best for him and we all have to respect that. But it would be great to have him with the Clippers. To have him on the court, the possibilities are endless to be able to win a championship."

Meanwhile, the Warriors have a contingency plan to land another Clipper if Brand declines their offer, the sources said. Golden State is expected to join a number of teams to lure free-agent forward Corey Maggette, who opted out of the final year of his Clippers contract on Monday.

The Philadelphia 76ers, according to the sources, may also bid for Maggette, who led the Clippers in scoring last season, averaging 22.1 points. The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz are also in the running.

Maggette on Thursday sounded almost certain that his Clippers career had come to an end.

"If they really wanted to do something they could have done something in the beginning," Maggette said. "It's just a business. I was traded my first year in Orlando and I learned early about how the business side of basketball is. It's about business and making business decisions. And that's the process of basketball right now. There's no bad blood or hard feelings."

As for his many suitors, Maggette said he was in no hurry to make a choice and that he has talked with Boston Coach Doc Rivers and current Celtic and former teammate Sam Cassell.

"Boston is really good," he said. "You've got a lot of great players there That's a great opportunity. San Antonio is something that's very interesting. So we'll see what happens. I'm not keeping anybody off the list. You never know."

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jonathan.abrams@latimes.com

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