July 25, 2002
By ROB MAADDIAP Sports Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Philadelphia 76ers, hoping to add more depth and versatility, signed guard Greg Buckner and forward Monty Williams on Thursday.
Buckner, who spent all three of his NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks got an $18 million, six-year deal that starts at $2.4 million this season.
Williams, a nine-year veteran who played the last three years with Orlando, signed a two-year deal reportedly worth the minimum of about $875,000.
“Both are versatile players who can play multiple positions and defend anybody,” general Billy King said. “They help us become more athletic.”
After winning the Eastern Conference championship in 2001, the Sixers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. King and coach Larry Brown said after the season that improving the bench would be a top priority.
In addition to Buckner and Williams, the Sixers added guard John Salmons and forwards Randy Holcomb and Sam Clancy in the draft, and acquired veteran forward Mark Bryant and Greek forward Efthimios Rentzias in draft-day deals.
“We’re better, but the offseason isn’t over,” King said, indicating the team could make more moves.
On Wednesday, the Sixers announced they had rescinded their qualifying contract offer to Matt Harpring, making the starting forward an unrestricted free agent. King said the team still is negotiating with Harpring, but he appears to be headed elsewhere.
Buckner averaged 5.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 44 games with the Mavericks last season. His ability to defend shooting guards and small forwards is his strength.
“I’ve been told many times that I don’t have a position,” Buckner said. “I like to guard the best payers on the wing. My game has been to strictly play defense and rebound, do the scrappy things.”
Williams averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 68 games with the Magic last year. He’s a strong presence in the locker room, can score inside and defends well against shooting guards, small forwards and some power forwards.
“Minutes have never dictated my attitude,” Williams said. “I try to do a lot of things well.”
The Sixers have a little more than $2.1 million of their mid-level salary exception to use to sign another player. They are among the teams interested in forward Rodney Rogers, who helped Boston beat the Sixers in the playoffs two months ago.
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