by Brett Edwards
As of midnight on July 1, the NBA's free agency (negotiating) period began, and did so with a couple of big names unexpectedly opting out of the final year of their deals. Elton Brand and Baron Davis both walked away from big money, a little over $16M and $17M respectively. Brand might very well remain a Clipper; he just wants to make sure the team signs some other pieces so they can compete for a playoff spot. Baron staying in the Bay area? That seems a lot less likely.
The other big name in question is Gilbert Arenas. He's expected to stay with the Wizards (for less than a max deal), but it seems his status may remain unresolved for a few weeks yet. Stay tuned.