From ESPN.com's Marc Stein:
Brown's agent, Mark Bartlestein, told ESPN.com on Monday night that the former No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft has reached a verbal agreement on a new contract with the Detroit Pistons.
The contract is believed to be a two-year deal worth $8 million, with Brown -- who spent his first four seasons as a pro in Washington after being drafted by then-Wizards president Michael Jordan -- holding a player option to return to free agency after this season.
This is a move that should make Pistons fans happy. Yes, Brown was a bust when taken first overall, and, sure, he may have been overpaid the last three years. But $8 million over two years? For a legitimate center with underrated defensive skills?
Yeah, I'll take that any day of the week, especially considering if Brown proves to be worth half a damn he'll almost certainly opt-out after this season in search of a better deal. He made $9.1 million last year alone -- one solid season with a team that actually knows how to play defense may be all he needs to convince some team out there to give him that kind of money once again.
Brown missed a lot of time last year with various leg ailments (bursitis, sprained knee and ankle, etc), but nothing Arnie Kander can't cure before breakfast. It'll be interesting to see if this move was made to set up another transaction (Rasheed Wallace just became a tiny bit more expendable) or whether the Pistons simply thought the price was right. Either way, I won't be surprised to see Brown enter the starting lineup next year averaging 20-25 minutes a night, with Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Jason Maxiell and (in the right matchups, at least) Amir Johnson filling in the rest of the time.
Where does Theo Ratliff fit in? At the moment, I don't think he does, unless he's willing to endure long streaks of DNP-CD's in hopes of being dusted off for the playoffs. Or, maybe he goes the PJ Brown route, sitting out most of the year before hitching his wagon onto whatever contender needs help -- we'll have to wait and see.
(hat-tip: Kay Wan, who broke the news on DBB in the comments)
Update: Random factoid -- this move shouldn't be terribly surprising considering the team's solid working relationship with Mark Bartelstein, who also represents Lindsey Hunter, Will Bynum, Trent Plaisted and (former Piston) Ronald Dupree, not to mention Devean George. (Also, PJ Brown, ironically enough.)
Update: Laughton notes in the comments:
Joe is a genius. Seriously. Does this not seem like a familiar scenario? Former high pick, underachieved and unable to stick with a team, comes to Detroit and finally lives up to potential.
And a former Wizard, to boot.