7 Free agents the Atlanta Hawks signed past their prime

Atlanta Hawks, Dwight Howard. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Dwight Howard. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks, Elton Brand
Atlanta Hawks, Elton Brand. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Elton Brand signs with Hawks ahead of 15th NBA season

Signing a former No. 1 overall pick should instill some form of optimism – even the failed ones possess the talent that made them seem worthy of being taken before anyone else. That sentiment is not the same when that player turns 34 years old during the season.

Elton Brand was the No. 1 pick by the Bulls in 1999. But he had dealt with the disappointment of not living up to the lofty expectations of following the Michael Jordan dynasty teams and a slew of injuries by the time he signed with the Hawks in 2013. Atlanta was Brand’s fifth NBA franchise after Chicago, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Dallas Mavericks.

He averaged 4.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in his two seasons with the Hawks.

At his best, Brand averaged 24.7 points, 10.0 boards, 2.6 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 1.0 steals during the 2006 season, earning the second of his two All-Star appearances. He is currently the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jason Richardson signed with Hawks after 14 years in the NBA

Jason Richardson was supposed to be Vince Carter 2.0 and, for a while, he looked every bit the part. But injuries interrupted a promising peak that saw him average 23.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 2006 only to make just 51 appearances in 2007. While his durability returned over the next four seasons, his scoring production did not.

Durability again became an issue in 2012 and, despite signing a contract with the Hawks ahead of the 2015 campaign, Richardson would never play for his new team.

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Richardson retired one month later.