DALLAS -- Elton Brand was back at American Airlines Center on Wednesday morning, and surprised he's not still drawing a paycheck form the Dallas Mavericks.
Brand spent last season with the Mavs and was one of the team's top interior players. However, Brand signed a one-year, $4 million free agent contract with the Atlanta Hawks this past summer after failing to come to terms with the Mavs on a new deal.
Asked if he was surprised the Mavs didn't re-sign him, Brand told the Star-Telegram: "I was a little surprise, but they were in the hunt. They had to get their (salary) cap situation straight and they did tender an offer.
"I think Dirk (Nowitzki) thinks it's my fault because he didn't say hello to me, but everyone else did.''
In 72 games for the Mavs last year, Brand averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds in 21.2 minutes per games. He also was one of the more calming influences in the Mavs' locker room.
"Elton is a tremendous player,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "You look at his career and what he did over a lot of years is he was really a big-time player, and he filled an important role for us last year.
"We've got (DeJuan) Blair here to try to give us some of what Elton gave us, but they're different kind of players. But Elton was very good for us.''
After the shoot around, Brand mentioned how odd he felt walking into the AAC as a member of another team.
"It's kind of surreal coming back,'' Brand said. "I only spent a year here, but the way the organization is you become close with your temamates and the coaching staff, but also the employees.
"Those are like your friends, so it was kind of surreal seeing those guys again.''
-- Dwain Price
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