Philadelphia 76ers On Defense

NBA Trade Rumors: Could Philadelphia 76ers Keep Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel?

NBA trade rumors continue to link the Philadelphia 76ers to teams where Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, or even Joel Embiid would be good fits. Quite a few NBA teams need to find an improvement at center before the February 23 trade deadline, leading to a lot of chatter as fans enjoy All-Star Weekend. It might make sense for the 76ers to deal one of the big men on the roster, but maybe the team would be better suited keeping its core roster intact?

In a report by the Philadelphia Enquirer, rookie center Joel Embiid had a similar notion, speaking to the media about how he would like the front office of the 76ers to the roster together. Embiid even spoke about how close the 76ers are to making the 2017 NBA Playoffs, which might be a bit tougher of a goal than he understands at this point.

“We got a lot of talent, and I feel we can use everybody if we want to get to where we want to. Obviously, the playoffs are right there even if we don’t get the opportunity to make it this year. I think next year is our goal. We have a lot of talent. Anytime you have that type of talent, you got to find ways to make it work.”

The report goes on to state that Jahlil Okafor has been linked to as many as 10 or 11 teams in recent NBA trade rumors, suggesting the Philadelphia 76ers might eventually get an offer they cannot turn down. Teams appearing in 76ers trade rumors have included the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and Portland Trail Blazers. It’s certainly easy to see how one of those teams would be immediately improved with a player like Okafor on the roster.

Joel Embiid With Philadelphia 76ers
[Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

In the latest NBA standings, the 76ers are 14th place in the Eastern Conference, five-and-a-half games behind the Detroit Pistons for the No. 8 seed. That’s a lot of ground to make up in the final 26 games of the regular season, especially since the 76ers would need to pass five teams just to get a first-round playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Losers of six of their past 10 games, there is also no reason to believe that the 76ers are suddenly going to go on a hot streak. Fans will enjoy hearing that Embiid has faith in his teammates, though.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Los Angeles Lakers have every incentive to “tank” for the rest of the NBA season, as the team wants to secure a top-three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. This is where it could get very interesting for the Philadelphia 76ers. If the Lakers don’t end up with a top-three selection in the draft, that pick becomes the property of the 76ers. That could give the team from Philadelphia two high first-round selections. This also gives the franchise an incentive to finish with a worse record than Los Angeles.

There are going to be a lot of additional NBA trade rumors over the next five or six days. It could even include new teams showing interest in acquiring Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel. Okafor is the name that gets mentioned the most, but Noel is a pending free agent who could choose to leave the 76ers in the offseason. Dealing Noel before the NBA trade deadline would ensure that the team at least gets something in return. An alternative, though, is to give Noel a contract extension as he is a restricted free agent.

Joel Embiid And Jahlil Okafor With Philadelphia 76ers
[Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

If the Philadelphia 76ers kept Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Ben Simmons, while also adding two top 10 players in the 2017 NBA Draft, that would certainly be a formidable roster next season. While it would certainly be a roster packed with youth and inexperience, there is no doubting the level of talent that all the players possess. Maybe Embiid is on to something when he urges the front office to just let things play out. Maybe it could even lead to the team ignoring all NBA trade rumors and focusing on simply adding more assets through the draft.

[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

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