NBA trade rumors are suggesting that the Philadelphia 76ers are still looking for a veteran big man to be a mentor to Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and Joel Embiid. According to Hoops Rumors, the Sixers have targeted Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Varejao, highly paid and seldom used by the Cavaliers, would only be a rental for the 76ers, and they seem fine with that scenario.
When it comes to front court prospects, very few teams in the NBA are as wealthy as the Philadelphia 76ers. The franchise has spent top five draft picks on Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and Joel Embiid over the past couple of years. All three are talented enough to become starting centers in the National Basketball Association. Right now, though, none of them are at that level, so the Sixers are looking for ways to accelerate that process.
Nerlens Noel has yet to prove that he’s one of the better big men in the NBA. Some of that is not his fault, however. The Philadelphia 76ers coaching staff has had trouble figuring out how best to utilize him. As a natural shot blocker and rebounding threat, Noel seems best suited to play the center position. The spot is occupied by Jahlil Okafor. Nerlens seems a bit lost at times at the power forward position, especially when he is matched up against stretch forwards.
At the start of the season, Jahlil Okafor proved to be an excellent draft choice for the Philadelphia 76ers. Along with Karl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, Okafor was one of the candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Then, he ran into a couple of roadblocks when he started making headlines for incidents that took place outside of the basketball court.
Joel Embiid is a very talented basketball player. The Philadelphia 76ers just haven’t been able to take advantage of that because he has yet to play in an NBA game due to injuries. While the franchise has publicly expressed confidence that he will be able to play some day, there are those that believe that he might be a lost cause. It would be similar to the situation that the Portland Trailblazers had to go through with Greg Olden, whom they drafted before Kevin Durant.
When the Philadelphia 76ers handed the keys to their franchise over to Jerry Coleangelo, one of the first decisions that he made was to bring in much needed leadership. Coleangelo quickly pulled off a trade to bring Ish Smith back to the team. The guard has provided guidance on the court. Coleangelo then convinced Elton Brand to come back to the NBA, so that he can be a voice that the younger players can lean on.
Jerry Coleangelo wants more than just Elton Brand. The Philadelphia 76ers president wants to acquire another veteran big man for the roster, and he’s hoping to do it before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. Several targets have been discussed, and Anderson Varejao has proven to be quite the appealing choice, especially since the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to unload him and reduce their luxury tax payment.
If the Philadelphia 76ers acquire Anderson Varejao, they can actually insert him into the starting lineup. Varejao is versatile enough to play power forward and center. That means that he can line up next to Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Having him on the court could be very beneficial to those two guys because they can easily ask him for advice on what to do on the court.
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