Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that the team has signed free agent center Theo Ratliff.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement are not disclosed. InsideHoops.com unofficially hears it’s a one-year deal for the NBA league minimum.

“We are very fortunate to sign a player of Theo’s caliber,” Stefanski said. “He is a consummate professional, both on the court and off, who will provide us with additional depth in the front court while also serving as a mentor to some of our younger players.”

Ratliff (6-10, 238) has played for six teams during his 13 NBA seasons, including a 215-game stint with the Sixers from mid-December of 1997 till late February of 2001.  In 705 career games with 504 starts, Ratliff has averaged 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.63 blocks in 27.0 minutes per game while shooting 49.7% from the floor and 71.1% from the line.  He has also appeared in 33 career playoff games with 17 starts, averaging 6.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.91 blocks in 22.2 minutes per game.

One of seven players in NBA history to lead the league in blocks in at least three seasons (2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04), Ratliff ranks 18th all-time in total blocks (1,855) and is seventh among active players.  He also owns the ninth-highest blocks per game average in league history and is fourth among active players.  The Sixers now have three players who rank among the NBA’s top-11 active all-time leaders in blocks per game (Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert and Ratliff).

A two-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection (1998-99, 2003-04), Ratliff enjoyed his greatest success as a Sixer, capped off in 2000-01 when he was voted as the starting center for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team.  Unfortunately, Ratliff suffered a fractured right wrist in early February of 2001 and missed All-Star Weekend.  Shortly after, he was traded to Atlanta along with Toni Kukoc, Nazr Mohammed and Pepe Sanchez in exchange for Dikembe Mutombo and Roshown McLeod.

After missing all but two games with a sore lower back for Boston in 2006-07, Ratliff was part of the Celtics trade with Minnesota last summer for Kevin Garnett.  The Timberwolves waived Ratliff on Feb. 29, 2008, allowing him to sign as a free-agent with Detroit shortly after.  In a combined 26 games with nine starts last season, Ratliff averaged 4.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.46 blocks in 16.8 minutes per game while shooting 48.2% from the floor and 67.4% from the line.  He also appeared in 12 of the Pistons 17 playoff games, averaging 1.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.92 blocks in 10.9 minutes per game.