The Philadelphia 76ers' Worst Free Agent Signings of the Past 20 Years
Despite the awful product that is the National Basketball Association, there’s a considerable buzz circulating about the possible destinations of some of league’s top free-agents.
The King, D-Wade, Bosh, Dirk, and Booze could all be switching jerseys this offseason in a free agent frenzy never seen before in NBA history.
The Atlanta Hawks' already offered Joe Johnson an insane six-year, $121 million offer—which he will most likely accept.
Joe Freakin’ Johnson...Did the Hawks watch him against the Orlando Magic in the playoffs this year?
Anyway, for Philadelphia 76ers fans this is going to be a quiet couple of weeks as far as free agents go. The Sixers are all spent out, with guys like Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand sucking the life out of the organization fiscally.
But maybe that’s a good thing, because recent history shows the Sixers are just no good when they do get a couple of bucks in their pocket.
Let’s take a look at some of the worst Sixers forays into free agency over the past 15 years.
Charles Shackleford - C - 1991
With Mike Gminski traded and Rick Mahorn fading, the Sixers saw Shackleford as an answer to their starting center prayers.
After playing only two mediocre seasons in the NBA with the Nets, the North Carolina State star shuffled off to Italy for the 1990-91 season before making his return.
To clear $1.3M in salary room to sign Shackleford, the Sixers released the popular Mahorn in the offseason.
Shackleford, best known for being a main figure in a college point-shaving scandal and this quote—“Left hand, right hand, it doesn’t matter. I’m amphibious.”—made over $3 million in the two miserable seasons he spent with the Sixers, averaging 5.5 ppg and 5.1 rpg.
He was released in the summer of 1993. He went on to lead the Euroleague in rebounding in 1995-96, and won the Korac Cup title playing in Greece in 1997.
Scott Williams - C/F - 1994
Williams’ three NBA Championship rings may have blinded the 76ers when they signed the talent-challenged big man for big money in 1994.
The undrafted North Carolina star was the epitome of a role player and cheerleader, but the Sixers paid him as if he were a starting caliber center.
Williams spent nearly four injury-riddled, layup-missing years in Philly, becoming one of the most unpopular players in recent memory.
It wasn’t because he didn’t try hard, he did, but he just flat out sucked and was getting paid like he didn’t. It didn’t help that the entire team was equally as bad. Mercifully, the 76ers managed to trade Williams, along with fellow disappointment Tim Thomas, to the Bucks for Tyrone Hill and Jerald Honeycutt during the 1998-99 season.
Matt Geiger - C - 1998
Geiger was signed to a six-year, $51 million contract in 1998, and despite his high-energy antics was a waste of space for five seasons in Philly.
Geiger started out as a fan favorite, with his shaved head, physical play, and goofy demeanor. But his ultimate lack of production, high salary, injuries, and his refusal to waive his 15 percent trade kicker clause in 2000 sealed his fate in this town.
Ultimately, Geiger’s refusal to give up the trade kicker stopped the Sixers from trading a disgruntled Allen Iverson to the Pistons (in return for Glen Rice and some garbage), so maybe he wasn’t all bad.
Knee injuries forced him to retire after the 2001-02 season. He used his millions to buy a house in Florida, and live a lifestyle that we can only dream of.
Kenny Thomas - F - 2003
Acquired in December 2002 from the Houston Rockets, Thomas proved to be a useful player, capable of grabbing 8 boards and scoring 12 points per night.
But apparently Billy King found him to be a little more useful than most, signing him to a whopping seven-year, $50M contract before the 2003-2004 season.
Thomas quickly proved to be exactly what we thought he was—an average player. Desperate to get rid of his contract, King threw oil on the fire by trading one albatross for another.
The Sixers shipped Thomas to Sacramento during the 2004-2005 season for a washed up - and rtidiculously expensive Chris Webber.
Webber’s salary and poor play ruined the Sixers for years. Meanwhile, the Kings are now celebrating the end of Thomas’ contract.
Elton Brand - F - 2008
This may be the most crippling signing in the franchise's history.
Brand was coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon with the Clippers when he opted out of his contract after the 2007-08 season.
General Manager Ed Stefanski, eager to make a splash, lured Brand away from L.A. with a five-year deal worth $79.795 million. While the buzz on the signing was tremendous the results on the court have been disastrous.
Firstly, Brand simply doesn’t fit the Sixers’ up-tempo style. He clogged things up, can’t play defense, and basically just gets in the way.
Secondly, he had to have season-ending shoulder surgery in his first season in Philly.
Thirdly, his contract prohibits Stefanski from doing anything in free agency for years to come. But as you can see above, maybe that’s not such a bad thing?