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Friday, July 18
Updated: July 19, 8:17 PM ET
Deal will be for $82 million over six years news services

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers retained All-Star forward Elton Brand on Saturday by matching an offer sheet he signed with the Miami Heat earlier this week.

The Clippers did not disclose the terms of Brand's deal, which is believed to be worth $82.2 million over six years. Los Angeles had 15 days to match the offer sheet Brand signed with the Heat on Wednesday.

"I am very pleased that Elton Brand will continue to be an important part of our organization," said Elgin Baylor, the Clippers vice president of basketball operations. "I never doubted the outcome of this process and I couldn't be happier."

Brand averaged 18.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 39.6 minutes in 62 games last season.

The first overall selection by the Chicago Bulls in the 1999 NBA draft, Brand has averaged 19.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 38.3 minutes over his four-year career.

Brand, who could have signed a one-year tender and then become an unrestricted free agent next summer, didn't seem fazed that the historically penny-pinching Clippers are going to keep him from going to Miami.

"If they match, I'm going to be excited either way," Brand told the Los Angeles Times by telephone on Friday when the Clippers; plans first came to light. "I'll be ready to go in a new direction with the Clippers, start winning some games and get into the playoffs. If they're going to match, that's saying they're in the direction of trying to get players."

The retention of Brand is the first step in an unprecendented outlay of Cash by the Clippers, in efforts to retain much of the team's core. The Clippers also have indicated that they will match the six-year, $42 million offer Utah made to guard Corey Maggette.

The Clippers already lost center Michael Olowokandi, who signed with Minnesota earlier this week, and likely will not match Denver's offer sheet to Andre Miller, a disappointment in his only year in L.A.

According to the Times, new Clipper Coach Mike Dunleavy called Brand on Thursday and repeated the team's interest in retaining him. "I told him it's all my fault," Dunleavy joked. "I said, 'I signed on to coach you, that's the way it's going to be.'

After opting not to lock up Brand last summer, the Clippers made an initial offer of $65 million over five years on July 1. They later increased the offer to $78 million over six years, the max they could offer with the salary cap assumed to be $42 million.

When the official salary cap figure of $43.8 million was released by the NBA on Wednesday, the Heat were able to include an additional $4 million in their offer, which the Clippers now must match.

"I honestly think that if they do match, and other players are here, it can turn around," Brand said to the Times. "The problem was, players weren't getting paid, so they were leaving or trying to do their things to get paid by other teams ... If we're there, then it's on us. It's in L.A., it's a great city, we've got great fans. We've just got to get over those old problems. We should be able to do that."

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