The Sixers have their starting center in Joel Embiid. In fact, they already have another two centers in Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes. That frontcourt logjam hasn’t gone away since the trade of Nerlens Noel.
Still, there will be centers (and forward-centers) on the free-agent market who can help the Sixers for an array of reasons.
Nene knows what it takes to last in the NBA. He and Mike Dunleavy have the longest tenures of the 2002 draft class.
Nene, 34, doesn’t need to be in the spotlight at this stage in his career. Last season, he came off the bench in 59 of his 67 games as the Rockets started younger centers.
He averaged 9.1 points (career-high 61.5 percent from the field) and 4.2 rebounds. He bumped up those numbers in the postseason to 10.0 points (70.6 percent from the field) and 4.7 boards.
Just like the case for Patty Mills (see story), the Brett Brown connection continues with Baynes. Brown coached Baynes in Australia and with the Spurs.
Since his three years in San Antonio, Baynes played the past two seasons with the Pistons. He declined his player option to become a free agent this summer.
Baynes, 30, averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game last season. He was reliable, appearing in 75 games, and came off the bench in all but two. Baynes would be a veteran option to back up Embiid (or be a backup to the backup).
Kelly Olynyk (restricted)
Embiid likes to joke about his desire to play point guard one day. Olynyk did just that until he hit a growth spurt in high school. The seven-footer has a combination of backcourt and frontcourt skills that can spread the floor.
Olynyk is coming off a postseason run with the Celtics in which he scored 26 points in the deciding game of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Wizards. He averaged 9.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in his fourth season.
Olynyk, 26, is not hesitant to pull up for a three. He shot 35.4 percent from long range on 192 attempts during the regular season.
Like Olynyk, Muscala fits into the Sixers’ search for versatility. At 6-foot-11, 240 pounds, he can play the four and the five while stretching the offense.
Last season, Muscala shot a career-best 41.8 percent (46 for 110) from three-point range. He averaged 6.2 points (50.4 percent from the field) and 3.4 rebounds.
Muscala, 25, has been a role player his entire four-year career with the Hawks and would be comfortable as a reserve. He played 70 games last season, starting just three.
Would Pachulia leave the opportunity of defending a title for a younger team vying for a postseason berth?
Pachulia brings both veteran know-how and championship-winning experience. He is a traditional big man (he has attempted just 26 threes in 14 seasons) and posted 6.1 points and 5.9 rebounds in his 14th season.
Pachulia, 33, could be a go-to for Dario Saric like Ersan Ilyasova was last season. Pachulia has seen Saric play overseas and is familiar with the development of his game.
"You could see he was a young, talented kid, smart," Pachulia said of Saric last season.