Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports first reported the news.
Brand, 36, last played for the Atlanta Hawks in 2014-15. He averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 36 appearances. The former Duke star had announced his retirement in August after being unable to sign with a team in free agency.
While this move will officially end that retirement, the Sixers are not signing Brand for his on-court contributions. His main contribution will be serving as a veteran mentor for a youth-laden roster that's struggled to find a leading voice. David Aldridge of NBA.com reported the team contacted Brand and Shane Battier for potential mentorship roles last month.
The move coincides with a shift away from general manager Sam Hinkie's so-called "Process." Philadelphia has already brought in Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo for an overarching organizational role and signed Mike D'Antoni as a key assistant for head coach Brett Brown. Those moves came amid a historically bad start on the court and a disconcerting one off of it, particularly regarding first-round pick Jahlil Okafor.
Brand will give Okafor a sounding board as a veteran with a semi-similar skill set, and the pair already have a Duke connection. The team hopes Brand will serve a similar role as the one played last season by Jason Richardson, whom Hinkie has admitted the Sixers miss.
"We miss Jason Richardson," Hinkie told ESPN.com's Zach Lowe. "For sure, you look back on things now, and you wish you would have had someone who could have helped us right the ship during this injury situation."
There is no reasonable person who expects Brand to have any discernible on-court impact. His playing time will be limited to garbage time—and that's if he even sees the floor whatsoever. It's likely the Sixers signed him as a player rather than a special assistant to entice him from a financial perspective and make his voice mean more in the locker room.
Brand spent four seasons with the Sixers from 2008-12, serving as a high-cost symbol of failure from the previous regime. Now, his return to the City of Brotherly Love may serve as a beacon of light in the darkness of the current one.
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