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July 01, 2019

Source: Sixers will sign Kyle O'Quinn to one-year minimum contract

Sixers NBA

The Sixers are signing veteran big man Kyle O'Quinn, a league source told PhillyVoice on Monday evening.

O'Quinn will be on a one-year minimum deal, PhillyVoice was told.

A seven-year vet out of Norfolk State University, O'Quinn has split the last seven seasons between the Orlando Magic, the New York Knicks, and most recently the Indiana Pacers, where he was a rotational big behind Myles Turner and Damontas Sabonis.

Of course, more of you are probably wondering to yourselves, "What does Kyle O'Quinn bring to the table, and why do the Sixers need another center?" As great as Philadelphia's top center options are heading into next season following the acquisition of Al Horford, there are always spots on a roster for cheap, tough, and skilled big men. That's exactly what O'Quinn is, and it is a big reason he has carved out a career despite being a second-round pick out of a small school.

Though he is not going to overwhelm anyone with size at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, O'Quinn is strong, which has been an asset for him around the rim on both ends of the floor. With an average of 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes over the course of his seven-year career, O'Quinn has quietly been one of the league's better rim protectors among bench players.

That will be important for Philadelphia on the nights where the Sixers decide to rest either of Joel Embiid or Al Horford. While the Sixers acquired a player in Horford who could provide Embiid with nights off (and vice versa), they would have run into a similar problem on nights either one of their top bigs missed a game. With O'Quinn in the fold, the Sixers can now expect to have quality defense around the rim as long as two of their three top big men are healthy and active, and that should go a long way toward shoring up some defensive issues.

Offensively, O'Quinn has good hands and good touch, which is a change of pace from a lot of the backup bigs who have passed through Philadelphia this century, and he has been an effective scorer in short bursts for most of his time in the league. His most important skill in a Sixers context may be his passing — his numbers don't leap off of the page, but he has had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio almost every single year. He's an unselfish player, and that will fit nicely within Philadelphia's ball-sharing offense.

O'Quinn has carved out a role for himself as an NBA player by always being ready despite rarely being asked to play a starter's role. That was especially in true during his last season in Indiana, where a frontcourt logjam had him miss stretches of games at a time only to be called on to give the Pacers a lift off of the bench when necessary. Like most of the players the Sixers have brought in to kick off free agency, he is a good locker room guy, and the Sixers have made it a clear priority to build a strong clubhouse around their core players.

One knock-on effect of this signing is that it may prompt the Sixers to develop Jonah Bolden strictly as a power forward after asking him to balance responsibilities between the four and the five last season. This will ultimately probably be a good thing for Bolden, who admitted it was a challenge to bounce back and forth between responsibilities last season, though playing the four full-time, in whatever role he's afforded, would increase the scrutiny on his three-point shooting.

The Sixers have ultimately been tracking O'Quinn for a while now, and sources told PhillyVoice they had attempted to bring him into the fold last summer before he ultimately agreed to sign with the Indiana Pacers.

Getting O'Quinn to agree to terms on a minimum contract will allow the Sixers to continue to search for ways to use their remaining cap space to upgrade the roster around their core, as Philadelphia entered Monday with about $7.7 million worth of space remaining following their moves on the opening night of free agency.

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