NBA Philadelphia 76ers

Five Worst Philadelphia 76ers Free Agent Signings Since 2000

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Five Worst Free Agent Signings Since 2000

Debby Wong - USA Today Sports

For the first time in a long time, the Philadelphia 76ers have significant cap room, and for the first time in a long time, they also seem to be heading in a positive direction in terms of their plans going forward. With that being said, they still have a monumental decision to make come July 1st when Andrew Bynum hits free agency. The right decision will put them on the path towards being a contender again and the wrong decision could set them back another five years.

If there’s one thing for certain, it's that the 76ers are used to being the team that makes the wrong decision when it comes to free agency. Having a lot of cap space can be a dangerous situation. In the times of Billy King and Rod Thorn as general manager there were plenty of occasions where they had cap space and didn't necessarily make the right decision.

That’s why this offseason is so delicate for the team. New GM Sam Hinkie is in charge after coming over from the Houston Rockets, and he keeps advanced statistics in mind when it comes to making his personnel decisions. This is a complete rebuilding project, and the team has been smart so far by locking up Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young to reasonable long term deals. The 76ers had one magical run to the 2001 NBA Finals, and Billy King made the mistake of trying to keep that unit together with long term contracts. This situation is different. It’s a make or break time for the Sixers, and the last thing Hinkie needs is a contract under his belt like these five.

Zach Slotter is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Kwame Brown (2 years/$6 million)

Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports

The 76ers signed Kwame Brown last offseason. Not only did the overpay for him, but they gave him a player option for 2013. He came in as a draft bust trying to revitalize his career and couldn’t even get on the floor while playing for one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. They are stuck with him on the bench all of next year as well.

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4. Aaron McKie (7 years/$35 million)

Chris_Vendrick - Flickr Creative Commons

After a run to the 2001 NBA Finals where Aaron McKie averaged 14.6 points per game, he was rewarded with a seven year contract at the age of 29. He proceeded to play four more years for the team, only averaging double figures once in those four years.

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3. Dikembe Mutombo (4 years/$68 million)

Evan Habeeb - USA Today Sports

Dikembe Mutombo was another player who helped Allen Iverson and crew get to the finals in ’01, averaging 13.9 points and 13.7 rebounds. They decided to give Mutombo $17 million a year after that at the age of 35. He only lasted one more year with the Sixers before being traded to the New Jersey Nets and his skills deteriorated.

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2. Kenny Thomas (7 years/$40 million)

lpdrew - Wikimedia Commons

After a half of a year averaging 10.2 points and 8.5 rebounds, that was enough to earn Kenny Thomas this massive contract extension. He never got much better after that, and the only good thing that came out of this deal was that they were able to ship him off to the Sacramento Kings in year two of the contract.

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1. Elton Brand (5 years/$80 million)

David Butler II - USA Today Sports

The last time the 76ers had the cap space to make a franchise altering move they decided to use it to sign Elton Brand. Brand and Andre Iguodala together on the court were supposed to be the start of an impressive run. Brand was coming off of a torn Achilles tendon and never really recovered. After being a 20-10 guy with the Los Angeles Clippers, Brand never averaged more than 15 and nine with the 76ers. Despite being a great locker room guy and a hard worker I am sure the Sixers regret that signing.