Skinner agrees to 5-year, $25M deal

Updated: July 8, 2004, 7:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

After losing out on free agent center Mark Blount, who agreed to re-sign with the Celtics earlier Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers reached an agreement with forward Brian Skinner, ESPN's David Aldridge reports.

The deal is to be for five years, $25 million.

Skinner, a former first-round pick who played for the Sixers during the 2002-03 season, played in 56 games last season for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds.

The Sixers were in hot pursuit of Blount and put in a call to Detroit Pistons free agent Rasheed Wallace, a Philadelphia native. But by signing Skinner, Philadelphia has effectively taken itself out of the running for Wallace, who is expected to re-sign in Detroit.

Skinner, 28, has averaged 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in six seasons in the NBA, while playing for four different teams. His best season was with the Bucks last year. He is considered one of the league's better offensive rebounders.

The 76ers are coming off a disappointing 33-49 finish, missing the playoffs for the first time since the 1997-98 season. They'll be led by Jim O'Brien, the third coach hired by general manager Billy King since Larry Brown resigned after the 2002-03 season.

It's a pivotal offseason for Philadelphia, which could unload several veterans, including center/forward Derrick Coleman, forward Glenn Robinson, point guard Eric Snow and swingman Aaron McKie.

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