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Free Agency Primer: Sixers Front Court Situation

Big people beat up little people.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jake sank his teeth into the Sixers' gaping black hole in the back court, and Shamus delved into the needs in the wing department. In the final chapter of our three-part free agency primer, I'll be breaking down the team's situation in the middle, lately a subject of more confusion than confidence.

In-house Options

Nerlens Noel: After a sloppy start to his rookie season, when it seemed that his hands were made of glass and he struggled to get a feel for the game after sitting out for a year, Nerlens began to showcase why he was once discussed as a potential top pick in the 2013 draft. He evolved into an ultra-versatile defensive weapon, switching and hard-showing out on the perimeter against guards in the pick-and-roll, defending the rim and playing passing lanes, walking away with the fourth-best Defensive Box Plus-Minus in the NBA (4.5). He made some baby steps on a budding face-up game, too. Who knows what his status will be going forward with Embiid's health in question and Okafor coming into the fold, but for now, it's safe to assume he'll be back playing a major role this season.

Joel Embiid: My entirely uninformed gut feeling is that we won't see a ton of him this season. Let's all hope I'm wrong. Get well, JoJo.

Jahlil Okafor: Assuming Embiid isn't healthy to start the season (perhaps an unfair assumption, but I digress), it seems Jah kicking off the season starting in the middle is a good bet. Playing with an offensive non-factor may hinder the potential benefits of the double-teams he has the ability to command in the post, but in terms of defensive fit, Noel's as convenient as anyone you'd draw up to play next to him.

Furkan Aldemir: The Turkish screen-setting menace is guaranteed about $2.8 million this upcoming season, but he's not a lock to make the team. There are plenty of scenarios in which Embiid's healthy, they add a free agent or two or the front office is pleasantly surprised with a summer league/training camp invitee and they decide to cut Aldemir loose. That'd be a Furkan bummer for sure.

Possible Free Agent Signings

Kyle O'Quinn: Orlando extended the Mizzou killer (long live Marcus Denmon) a qualifying offer yesterday, so he's now a restricted free agent. He can protect the rim in spot minutes (29th in Seth Partnow's Points Saved per 36, which ain't half bad for a minimum salary player) and step out to hit 10-to-15-foot jumpers for some spacing help. If Orlando splurges on Paul Millsap, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to let O'Quinn walk. He's a nice rotation option.

Bismack Biyombo: Amidst a chaotic couple of weeks, Charlotte declined Biyombo's qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. He may be a tad redundant with Noel, in that he's rangy, blocks shots and brings energy, but I don't think you can never have too much of that. He's still 22, has tons of room to grow and, similar to O'Quinn, would be a nice, cheap rotation option.

Free Agency Outlook

For a front office that's praised competitive advantages as much as Philly's, I fully expect the Sixers to be active this summer in some capacity. This will be the last summer for the foreseeable future in which cap space will be an asset for this team, and although they won't spend money just because they can, I wouldn't be shocked to see them put their advantages to use.

It may not be for the benefit of the front court - they've got a stockpile of young bigs oozing with potential, and a few more prospects puttering around overseas. But with talent gaps across the board, they shouldn't be shying away from the phones.