Free Agency kicks off in the NBA on June 30, and now it’s time to look back at some free-agent history for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Each team makes some kind of free agency move each season. When a team brings a fresh face to the roster, it believes the signing will help push it over the top.
However, there are good submissions and there are bad submissions that don’t work at all, which is what this post focuses on.
The list is based on money received combined with lack of impact and how the results played out on the field during that player’s time in Philadelphia. Let’s go to the list:
Brian Skinner – 2004 off-season
Skinner had a solid 2002-03 season with the Sixers helping them reach the playoffs. After a season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Skinner returned to Philadelphia a five-year deal of $25 million† He averaged 2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 24 games before being moved to the Sacramento Kings for Chris Webber.
Kenny Thomas – 2003 off-season
The Sixers acquired Thomas from the Houston Rockets in December 2002. He averaged 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds, but Philadelphia then re-signed him for seven years and $50 million. That was way too much of a commitment for him, and he was moved to the Kings with Skinner in the Webber deal.
No. 5 Kwame Brown
Kyle Terada-US TODAY Sports
Brown signed a $5.7 million two-year deal in the off-season of 2012, and he played a total of 22 games. He averaged 1.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in those games and never played an NBA game again. He later became the Big3’s fifth overall pick.
No. 4 Scott Williams
TOM MIHALEK/AFP via Getty Images
The Sixers loved Williams because then-GM and coach John Lucas liked it? he knew how to win† That’s why the Sixers signed him to a seven-year deal. However, he was unable to deliver the lessons learned from Michael Jordan. He played 212 games in Philadelphia, averaging 5.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, who met the Sixers in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals.
No. 3 Elton brand
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Before joining the Sixers, Brand was one of the best big men in the league. He averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds over seven seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and was a two-time All-Star. Philadelphia signed him to the ‘Philly max’ five-year, $182 million deal, but he wasn’t the same player anymore. He averaged 13.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in four seasons before being released prior to the final season of his contract.
No. 2 Matt Geiger
Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport.
Geiger signed a six-year, $48 million deal in the off-season of 1998, and he had some bright spots. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in the deal’s inaugural season. Then? His numbers dropped every season and he played just four games in the 2001-02 season, his last.
Perhaps the pinnacle of Geiger’s time in Philadelphia was being? refusal to waive his trade kicker in 2001 in a deal that would have sent him and Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons. That kept Iverson in Philadelphia and the rest is history.
No. 1 Al Horford
Bill Streicher-US TODAY Sports
Horford’s signing was always in doubt after signing for four years and $109 million, but the fit on the pitch was more of a disaster than anyone expected. The Sixers hoped to team him up with Embiid and play smashmouth basketball while having a very reliable backup for the big guy, but Horford couldn’t team up with Embiid or Ben Simmons. The result was dysfunctional basketball.
Combined with the fact that Philly lost Jimmy Butler offseason and Butler led the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020 and the Sixers who renounced the white flag and traded Horford after just one season, the deal looks downright awful.