Mike Dunleavy, the onetime 76ers' guard and current coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, probably wasn't expecting to see Elton Brand serving as a sixth man of sorts for the Sixers, but that's what he's likely to see Saturday. That's if Sixers' coach Eddie Jordan doesn't change the lineup again, which he says he hates to do.
''Honestly, I haven't studied the Sixers, haven't seen them play,'' Dunleavy said in the midst of the Clippers' Eastern swing that has them in New York Friday night. ''I watch our games, I watch my son's games (young Mike plays for the Indiana Pacers). I don't have a lot of time to watch much else.
''I saw in the papers that they broke their losing streak against Golden State, and that they've been using Thaddeus Young at the '4.,' and that it seems like they'll continue to go that way. I just know that Elton was great for me, becoming an All-Star in the Western Conference. He was terrific, a great fit in our system; we got him to use that one-dribble move and then go to a jumper or a jump-hook, and he worked hard at it. I look at his time here as nothing but the experience.
''We tried to re-sign him when he became a free agent. We had a great relationship, and I thought we had a deal. Elton came to me, told me he wanted a good team around, that he wanted $14 million-$15 million a year. I got him the money. He wouldn't have opted out if we hadn't had a deal. But (agent) David Falk came in and did whatever he did to change it. I never had a conversation with Elton after that. I expected a call, just saying 'Hey, I had a change of heart.' I would have been disappointed, but I would have wished him the best.''