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Hawks sign veteran forward Elton Brand

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ATLANTA (AP) - The new-look Atlanta Hawks signed two-time All-Star Elton Brand on Monday, picking up a player who can bolster their depth in the frontcourt and provide veteran leadership in the locker room.

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The 34-year-old Brand averaged 7.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last season with the Dallas Mavericks. He played in 72 games, with 18 starts.

While clearly not the player he once was, the Hawks intend to use the 6-foot-9 Brand in a backup role behind center Al Horford and power forward Paul Millsap.

``Elton brings a veteran presence both on and off the court and is a welcomed addition to our locker room,'' general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. ``His ability to play center or power forward will give our frontcourt a great deal of versatility and we think he will be an outstanding fit to our program.''

Contract terms weren't disclosed.

Brand was the No. 1 overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 1999 NBA draft. He also has played with the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia during his 14-year career, with averages of 17.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 blocks. He was picked for the All-NBA second team in the 2005-06 season.

The Hawks have undergone a massive makeover heading into Ferry's second full season as GM. Last summer, he dealt away starters Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. Last week, the Hawks were outbid for longtime stalwart Josh Smith, who agreed to a four-year, $54-million contract with the Detroit Pistons.

Ferry struck out in his bid to land former Lakers center Dwight Howard, but the Hawks did acquire forward Paul Millsap with a $19-million, two-year deal and matched Milwaukee's $32-million, four-year offer to point guard Jeff Teague, a restricted free agent.

The team also re-signed 3-point specialist Kyle Korver, agreed to a deal with free-agent forward DeMarre Carroll, and landed a couple of foreign players in the first round of the draft: point guard Dennis Schroder from Germany and 7-foot center Lucas Nogueira from Brazil.

Matching the deal for Teague is perhaps the most significant move of the offseason.

Last season, he posted career highs with 14.6 points and 7.2 assists per game, the latter figure ranking 12th in the league.

``He has improved each year of his career and continues to get better,'' Ferry said. ``At 25, he's already been a key contributor on a playoff team and we look forward to seeing him develop into even more of a leader on our team.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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