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Sixers Sign Veteran Center Tony Battie, Addressing Frontcourt Depth

Via their website, the Philadelphia 76ers announced the signing of Tony Battie, a free-agent center and 12-year veteran, to a deal with undisclosed financial terms.

A mid-range jump-shooting specialist and capable defender at either power position, Battie played sparingly last season for the New Jersey Nets, appearing in a scant 134 minutes over 15 games, with modest averages of 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds on 35% shooting. He was last a rotation player on the 2008/09 Orlando Magic, where he backed up Rashard Lewis at power forward and Dwight Howard at center.

Sixers GM Ed Stefanski lauded Battie's steadying presence in the press release, so this addition is more about what Battie can bring to the locker-room than to the court. Or at least, it should be. If Stefanski and head coach Doug Collins are banking on Battie contributing meaningfully, they're in trouble. But Howard speaks highly of Battie as a mentor, referring to him as a "big brother" in this interview.

Battie's signing is the first for Philadelphia this offseason; its other additions came via the draft (Evan Turner) or trade (Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni).