NBA

The Philadelphia 76ers sign veteran power forward who last played in 2013

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The Philadelphia 76ers are heading into the new season with one of the most exciting young teams in the league.

The Sixers have an abundance of young talent with the likes of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric on their roster.

The franchise, however, wants to create a balanced group and is keen to surround their youngsters with experienced veterans who can provide leadership in the locker room.

They went some way to fulfilling this by acquiring 33-year-old J.J. Redick and 30-year-old Amir Johnson in free agency.

On the eve of the team's pre-season camp ahead of the new campaign, the 76ers have brought in another veteran that may surprise many and raise some eyebrows.

Philly has added 34-year-old Emeka Okafor to their training camp roster on a non-guaranteed deal.

Okafor - who is a distant cousin of Sixers center Jahlil - is attempting to make a return to the NBA having last played for the Washington Wizards in the 2012-13 season.

As a standout college player with UCONN, where he won the NCAA Tournament, the center came into the league as the number two overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 draft.

The Houston native was named as the Rookie of the Year in 2005 where he averaged 15.1 points and 10.9 points per game.

He spent nine seasons in the NBA with the Bobcats, New Orleans Hornets and Wizards.

Okafor has averaged 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 590 career games. The Wizards traded him to the Phoenix Suns before the 2013-14 campaign, but Okafor missed that year because of a herniated disc in his neck and remained unsigned for the last three seasons.

He now has an opportunity to convince the 76ers coaching staff that he's ready to make a return and can still perform and be productive in the league.

As well as Okafor, the Sixers have also signed Kris Humphries to the same deal.

The 13-year veteran has spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and has represented eight different teams during his career.

The duo will get minutes during the team's five pre-season games in an effort to secure guaranteed deals.

There will be a real buzz about Philadelphia's training camp as they have a realistic chance of making the playoffs and ending a dismal run of losing records in recent years.

The anticipation in the City of Brotherly Love has been evident all summer but the hard work begins now as they aim to prove they can compete with the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

Topics:
Washington Wizards
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
NBA
Atlantic Division
Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers
Allen Iverson

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