Jahlil Okafor is one of the top names in the NBA rumor mill at this point, and there seems to be a decent chance that the Philadelphia 76ers will consider dealing him this offseason. There are a ton of teams that could use a skilled big man like Okafor; although, the 76ers will be asking for a high price in return. Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and Boston Celtics have been mentioned as landing spots for Okafor, but there is one other team that could make a run at the second-year center.
Charles Rahrig of FanSided.com opined that the Phoenix Suns could make a play for Okafor this offseason. It is certainly an intriguing possibility to consider and dive a little deeper into.
He suggested that the Suns could package Brandon Knight along with draft picks in order to acquire Okafor. Other players would likely have to be involved, but Phoenix definitely has the assets to make a move for a star. Adding a big man like Okafor would give them a big three of Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Okafor to build around moving forward.
Last season with the 76ers, Okafor had a great rookie year even though he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year award due to the injury problems he faced. He averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game throughout the 53 games he was able to play. Okafor ended up shooting 50.8 percent from the field overall and knocked down 68.6 percent of his free-throw shots.
At just 20-years-old, Okafor is a very rare trade chip. There are not many teams that will trade a guy who has put up those numbers as a rookie.
Philadelphia could look to deal talented power forward Nerlens Noel instead of Okafor. He wouldn’t draw near the kind of return that Okafor would, but that would allow the 76ers to play Okafor alongside of Joel Embiid in the front-court.
If the Suns are able to acquire Okafor, it would fix an issue that they have had for years. They have not had a legitimate dominant big man in a long time. Tyson Chandler and Alex Len just aren’t going to cut it, though they are both very solid role players.
Simply having a player of Okafor’s value on the trade market makes for an interesting offseason. The Suns are going to have a hard time outbidding teams like the Celtics or Lakers, should they get involved. Phoenix will have to be aggressive in their talks with the 76ers and try to come to a quick agreement if they want to get something done.
Phoenix is hoping to be back in playoff contention in the next couple of seasons. Earl Watson took over as the head coach in the middle of the season and was re-signed to a new deal during the postseason this year. If the Suns could bring in a post presence like Okafor for him, there is a chance that the Suns could make some noise next season.
Depending on how Booker continues to progress over the next year and Okafor’s improvements, they could have a lethal one-two punch. Throw in a piece like Bledsoe and things get much more interesting.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors surrounding the Suns this coming offseason, and don’t be surprised if they are linked to Okafor. They certainly have a need at the position and have the pieces to make a good offer.
Do you think that the Phoenix Suns should try to acquire Jahlil Okafor from the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason? Would he be the piece that helps power the Suns back to the playoffs? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Matt Slocum]