by Marcel Mutoni

Last week, I mentioned the slight possibility that the Philly Sixers could go after Elton Brand this summer. And now, it appears to have become a reality.

New GM Ed Stefanski has his first chance to really make a splash in the City of Brotherly Love by bringing over the highly-coveted Brand.

In the face of a longstanding leaguewide consensus that Brand would return to Hollywood to form a new partnership with Clipper-to-be Baron Davis, sources say that the Sixers are growing increasingly confident in their ability to create additional salary-cap space by finding a new home via trade for swingman Rodney Carney and center Calvin Booth … and then make a sufficiently rich offer Brand would struggle to refuse.

Multiple front-office sources said late Monday that the Sixers are closing in on a deal with the Timberwolves in which the Wolves would absorb the contracts of both Carney and Booth with a $5.2 million trade exception created by Minnesota’s trade of Mark Blount to Miami last October.

Man, this Elton Brand situation is getting more and more complicated by the day. After Baron Davis committed to the Clip Show, it seemed like only a matter of time until Brand signed on the dotted line to create the League’s newest 1-2 combo. But now, no one can say for sure what’s going to happen.

City columnists are making bizarre pleas, houses are being sold, and teams are coming out of the woodwork as potential destination spots. July 9th (the first day that teams can officially sign free agents) can’t get here soon enough.