Elton Brand thought he was going in for a harmless off-season workout at the Philadelphia 76ers' practice facility.
Instead, he got his walking papers.
Summoned to a meeting by team president Rod Thorn, Brand learned earlier this month the Sixers would use their one-time amnesty provision in the new CBA to let him go. The move means the $18.1 million Brand is owed in the final season of his five-year deal will not count against the salary cap for Philadelphia.
The two-time All-Star forward wouldn't stay unemployed for long.
The Dallas Mavericks won the bidding Friday to obtain Brand off waivers, the latest in a series of moves to build their roster after a frustrating start in free agency.
"I'm pretty happy with it," Brand said by phone Friday night. "I think it can be good for me."
Dallas also completed a one-year deal with 7-foot centre Chris Kaman, who tweeted Wednesday that he had reached an agreement with the Mavericks.
The Sixers also continued to overhaul their roster when they agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract with former No. 1 overall draft pick Kwame Brown.
A year after winning their first NBA title, the Mavericks couldn't persuade Deron Williams to come play for his hometown team. Williams stayed with the Nets for their move to Brooklyn and signed his new deal early Wednesday, the first day new deals could be finalized.
Brand will still get the full $18.1 million he is owed, with Philadelphia paying any difference. Any team under the salary cap was eligible to bid for the 6-foot-9 forward.
The winning bid wasn't revealed by the Mavericks. ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported it was $2.1 million.
Brand was happy to land in Dallas, he just wished he had more control of his future.
"Yeah, that was real tough," he said. "I didn't have too many gripes with the CBA or the lockout but that's one gripe, just that you don't have a choice. You play years and years and don't have a choice. But to not have a choice, and still end up in Dallas, it turned out great."
Brand was the top overall pick out of Duke in the 1999 draft by Chicago and has played 860 career games with the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia. He was an All-Star in 2002 and 2006.
His career averages are 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 50 per cent from the field. Last season, he averaged 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in 60 games with the 76ers.
Kaman averaged 13.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 47 games with the New Orleans Hornets last season. He played the first eight seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Clippers, and has averaged 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds in 540 career games.
Kaman was on the German national team during the 2008 Olympics and was a teammate of Dirk Nowitzki.
Brand isn't willing to concede a starting spot but is willing to play off the bench.
"It depends on training camp and what Chris Kaman is ready to do," Brand said. "He's a true centre. I've played centre a lot. But he's a true centre. Whatever is needed to win ballgames and the minutes are there, it won't be too tough."
Brand said he had a productive talk with coach Rick Carlisle.
Dallas this week designated 7-foot centre Brendan Haywood as its amnesty player. Haywood is set to make $8.2 million next season and is due $27 million over the final three guaranteed years in his deal.
Brand was a two-time All-Star when he spurned better offers and signed the free-agent contract with Philadelphia. While Brand was the locker-room leader and heart of the Sixers, his production never merited the deal he signed as one of the hottest free agents available.
He played only 29 games in an injury-filled first season with Philadelphia and never meshed with former coach Eddie Jordan in his second. Under Doug Collins, Brand found his niche, and led the Sixers in scoring with 15.0 points a game in 2010-11.
"We just didn't get it done," Brand said. "I'm a realist. If we had got it done, I'd have still been there, absolutely. No hard feelings at all. I'll still root for the organization. I had a great time. The fans were great. We started changing the culture. It was good."
Brand may not become a legitimate 20-10 threat at power forward again like his years with Chicago and the Clippers, but he was as steady and durable as any Sixer over the past two seasons. Brand said he "would have loved to have come back," but understood why the Sixers made the change. They chose not to re-sign guards Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks, and believed their Eastern Conference semifinals loss to Boston was as far as that roster could go.
"I felt like we had to get better. Something had to get done," he said. "We were kind of bringing the same guys back and other teams were getting better. ... I didn't think we were improving too much."