Even with the playoffs underway, there are still NBA trade rumors hitting the internet as the teams that failed to make the postseason will look to contend in the future. Recent speculation has been raised as far as two teams that could have high draft picks next month. These teams already have some talented young stars in place, but a speculated NBA trade could see the Philadelphia 76ers send Jahlil Okafor to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for veteran guard Brandon Knight. That could provide both teams with some new pieces to their puzzles as they look to move closer toward playoff contention.
As originally suggested by FanSided’s Valley of the Suns, Phoenix has been looking to acquire Jahlil Okafor since last year, and it may be time to pull the trigger now. The six-foot-11 Okafor would provide the Suns with much-needed help in their frontcourt, especially as the upcoming NBA Draft won’t hold too many big men within the top 10 picks. The Phoenix Suns have been speculated to get anywhere from the top pick to the third overall pick when the selection order is determined in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery. That would likely land them Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, or Kansas small forward Josh Jackson. Unfortunately, none of those players are power forward types.
While they could hope to find a gem in the draft’s second round, bringing in someone who is young and already somewhat used to the league works better. Okafor, who has just a year of experience in the league, was averaging 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and a block per game last season. The former Duke standout became disgruntled with his situation in Philadelphia and was often mentioned in ongoing NBA trade rumors over the past season. Everyone from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Lakers became rumored teams that Okafor might be traded to. It’s no secret Philadelphia would like to deal him and that Okafor isn’t happy there, so it makes sense that he and the team parting ways would be a good idea for everyone involved.
With that in mind, the Suns could make a trade to bring Okafor to a lineup he’d work quite well in, as the team could space the floor using their other current talents, including Devin Booker and Jared Dudley. It’s said that this could help Okafor get plenty of touches on offense, and he could also become a rebounding and defensive understudy to veteran Tyson Chandler. Okafor would also complement scoring sensation Devin Booker quite nicely as part of the roster.
The biggest reason given for the Suns to make this trade for Okafor is the fact that it would take very little in terms of their assets to do so. The speculated NBA trade would involve the Suns sending the Sixers a few second-round draft picks or just sending guard Brandon Knight to Philadelphia. Knight, who has been in the league for five years now, averaged 11 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game in the 2016-17 NBA season. He’d provide the Sixers with a veteran point guard to lead the way as young talents such as Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric all continue to mature and learn the system.
The rumored trade, which Sportsrageous reported works out via ESPN’s Trade Machine, would be a great move for both teams. The Phoenix Suns get help in terms of low-post scoring by acquiring a former No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. The Philadelphia 76ers receive a starting point guard who can also score some points, taking a bit of the load off Ben Simmons for now. As it stands, Simmons hasn’t really had much time to adapt to playing as a part of the Sixers due to his injury and surgery rehab concerns. Having Brandon Knight would certainly make things more comfortable for last year’s No. 1 NBA Draft pick.
As mentioned, the Suns and Sixers will learn their situations in terms of drafting more young talent on Tuesday night. That’s when the NBA Draft Lottery takes place, and both teams will see exactly which selection spot they receive for June’s 2017 NBA Draft. As of right now, Draft Express has the Phoenix Suns selecting second and the Philadelphia 76ers getting the fourth overall pick. It would not be surprising to see the two teams engage in a swap right on NBA Draft night, so stay tuned as the plot thickens for these two up-and-coming franchises.
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