Elton Brand intends to play a 16th NBA season.
The veteran center, who spent last season with the Hawks after signing a one-year contract, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday that he has no plans to retire.
“My body feels good,” the 34-year-old Brand said. “I’m already training for next season.”
Brand played 73 games, including 15 starts, for the Hawks last season after signing a $4 million contract. He also appeared in all seven playoff games. He did not miss a game due to injury. It was the most games Brand had played in a season since appearing in 86 regular-season and playoff games for the 2010-11 76ers.
Brand played a major role for the Hawks last season. He did not play in eight of the Hawks’ first 15 games but took on an increasingly significant role as injuries mounted at the center position. Al Horford (torn right pectoral muscle) suffered a season-ending injury in December and Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder) was lost in February. When Pero Antic (right ankle stress fracture) was lost for 17 games in January and February, Brand was the only healthy center on the roster for a period. He played 43 minutes against the Knicks on Feb. 22 and 42 minutes against the Bulls on Feb. 25.
For the season, Brand averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 19.4 minutes per game.
Brand said he started his preparations for another season with Hawks strength and conditioning coach Jeff Watkinson and is currently working out in Pennsylvania in preparation for another year. The NBA free agency period begins July 1 and players can sign contracts starting on July 10.
Brand said following the season that he intended to take some time to rest and discuss his playing future with his family. He said his son is an avid basketball fan and would like to see him play.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said following the season that no firm roster decisions have been made. The Hawks will return Horford, Antic and Mike Muscala at center. Ayon is a restricted free agent giving the Hawks the right to match any offer he receives should they make him a qualifying offer.
Brand was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Bulls following his sophomore season at Duke. He shared NBA Rookie of the Year honors with Steve Francis. He played two seasons with the Bulls, seven with the Clippers, four with the 76ers and one with the Mavericks before joining the Hawks. In 1,005 regular-season games, Brand has career averages of 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 blocks. He is 88th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 16,661 points, 49th on rebound list with 8,877 and 21st on the blocks list with 1,795.
For Brand, there is more work to be done.