Originally posted on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 11/28/11

Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently wrote about the direction in which the Philadelphia 76ers could be heading in the shortened offseason, starting off with the signing of their first-round pick, Nikola Vucevic. She added that the Sixers could also be a player for a free-agent center; but not for a high profile big man.

Spencer Hawes is currently a restricted free agent and has received an offer sheet from the Sixers, meaning that Philly can match any offer Hawes’ receives from another team within three days. The general consensus is that the Sixers will retain Hawes and match any offer that comes his way unless it’s an outrageous deal

With that said, the Sixers will have 12 players locked up once they sign Vucevic, giving them little leeway to make a move. However, they will have enough money to sign a cheap, yet competent big man.

As Fagan points out in her piece, the Sixers could target someone like Erick Dampier or Kwame Brown. To Philly fans, those names don’t bring a sense of comfort, especially when the position has been employed by below-average big men for some time now. Yet, the addition of someone like Dampier or Brown wouldn’t be a bad thing for a team as young as Philadelphia.

Hawes and Brand will be the primary big men all season long. Whoever the Sixers decide to add down low this offseason will take on a small role and will be asked to fill in during certain situations (i.e. foul trouble, injuries).

Simply put, the addition will be a economical move to provide depth to a crucial position

So who exactly could the Sixers target during free agency?

Erick Dampier, Miami Heat ($1.1 million/ 36-years old)

Despite boasting  a career-scoring average of 7.5, Dampier has, for the most part, provided his squad with a formidable rebounder, maintaining a career 7.2 rebounds per game. Aside from last season’s sub-par season with the Heat (totaled 16 minutes per game – his lowest since his rookie season), Dampier still is a solid rebounder and a defensive presence. He would come in to Philly and be a respectable veteran bench body.

Kwame Brown, Charlotte Bobcats ($1.3 million/ 29-years old)

A younger option compared to Dampier, Brown rejuvenated his career down in Charlotte, increasing his scoring average to 7.9 PPG (higher than his career-average of 6.8). He also added 6.8 RPG, which is higher than his career average of 5.5. Despite being a bust ever since he was selected first-overall back in the 2001 draft, Brown has quietly developed himself into a legitimate bench body and a decent scorer; he would, in my opinion, be the best option for the Sixers.

Francisco Elson, Utah Jazz ($1.1 million/ 35-years old)

The lesser-known of the bunch, Elson has never been a scoring threat, posting a career-average of 3.7 PPG. He never has groomed into a true rebounding threat either, despite his 7’0” frame. But this can be credited to him being a career backup, totaling 15.4 MPG over his career. Ironically, Elson played one game for the Sixers in the 09-10 season, compiling a whopping four minutes of play. The only way Philly turns to Elson is if the other free agent big men start falling off the board for price tags that don’t suit them.

Other notable free-agent centers that the Sixers could target (Etan Thomas, Jason Collins, Hamed Haddadi) – all three of these guys will most likely sign a contract between $1.2 and $1.8 million. 

Be sure to follow Kyle on Twitter @Kyle_Phillippi for all your 76ers updates!

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