NBA trade rumors are swirling around the Philadelphia 76ers like vultures searching for prey. Almost every player on the 76ers’ roster can be had in a trade. That includes two of their three former lottery picks, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Instead of looking to start over again, the 76ers want to change their losing ways and put together a winner. The 76ers have to trade some of their young players for proven NBA talent.
Just about all of the NBA trade rumors involves the 76ers in some way or another. There are several big names circulating in trade rumors, including Blake Griffin, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose, Kenneth Faried, and Paul George. Also among those names are the 76ers’ big men, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
A team with the right offer can have either Noel or Okafor. They are reportedly on the trading block, courtesy of ESPN, because the Philadelphia 76ers’ front office thinks highly of center Joel Embiid and forward Dario Saric.
Neither Embiid or Saric have played in an NBA game, but their potential ceilings are that of future superstars. It is a wonder if the 76ers feel the same way about Noel and Okafor.
The immediate change in philosophy is a result of the constant losing. The 76ers have won a total of 37 games in a three year span. Their 10 victories this past season was one more win than the amount of games the Golden State Warriors lost the entire year. Change is necessary for the 76ers.
Change is good when you have a history of struggling. For the Philadelphia 76ers, the torment that they have put their fans through deserves a reverse in the course. After three seasons of tanking, although no one in the 76ers’ organization will admit to tanking, the time is now ready to put together a winner.
Trading Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor for veterans will get the 76ers closer to the playoffs, but there is not a trade of significance that will help them compete for an NBA title within the next five seasons.
The ideal blueprint for the 76ers is what the Boston Celtics have done. By trading away Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, the 76ers need to get a borderline All-Star and a draft pick in return for each player. There are teams who are willing to do that because of the effect that Noel and Okafor could have on a lineup. The fit has to be right. Noel would be perfect for a team with the need for a quality rim protector. Okafor would help a team which needs an interior scorer. The teams with the greater needs will offer the most for them.
One of the most prolific of the NBA trade rumors involves the 76ers communicating with the Atlanta Hawks for a Nerlens Noel and Jeff Teague swap.
John Smallwood of Philly.com calls the rumor, just speculation. He senses a rush in assumptions that things will happen. Smallwood is right. As of now, everything is speculation, but where there is smoke, assume that there is a fire building somewhere. Speculation and trade rumors are good for a moribund NBA franchise. The NBA rumors surrounding Noel to the Hawks could create a bidding war if the 76ers are serious about trading him.
There are a couple of things to ponder. The longer that the Philadelphia 76ers are involved in NBA trade rumors, the better off they will be. It proves that their plan has worked to perfection. Especially if they can turn Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor into proven NBA players. There are several teams interested in the 76ers’ big men. Many of those teams have identified that their chances at title contention is farther away than they had hoped. They will get into a bidding war.
Think about what the Chicago Cubs did with their baseball team. The Cubs stunk long enough to accumulate assets. Those assets turned into legitimate players, and now they have the best team in Major League Baseball.
The Philadelphia 76ers have attempted to do the same thing and now they have the No. 1 draft pick to show for it. They also have at least two young players in Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, who have enough potential and can net them a couple of All-Star level players.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the winners of the NBA trade rumor mill. It was just a couple of months ago that no one saw the true direction of the franchise.
[Featured photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images]