NBA Rumors: Nerlens Noel Or Jahlil Okafor Headed To Phoenix For Eric Bledsoe

The latest NBA rumors surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers involves a trade of one of their young big men — Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor — to the Phoenix Sun for Eric Bledsoe.

A report from Arizona Sports suggested that a trade for either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel was possible. Basketball analyst Chad Ford claimed rumors around the league suggested the Phoenix Suns are actively looking to trade for a young NBA veteran with a proven track record instead of taking their chances in the draft.

“From everything that I’m hearing, Phoenix is talking to a lot of teams about a lot of things that would have them maybe moving No. 4, to move out of the draft completely and get a youngish veteran that can come in and contribute right now. Again, [Phoenix Suns’ owner] Robert Sarver is not a patient man, has not shown that he’s been willing to stick with a plan for very long… I think if they can turn this No. 4 pick into a guy who is an immediate contributor, who is young enough to really fit the direction the Suns are going, they’re willing to do that.”

Philadelphia has plenty of assets to offer the Phoenix Suns in addition to Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Beyond the overall No. 1 selection, the 76ers also have the No. 24 and No. 26 picks. Phoenix also has three first-round selections (No. 4, 13, and 28) to make in the 2016 NBA Draft, meaning the Suns and Sixers could swap players and draft picks to even out trade.

The Phoenix Suns have a talented guard group already in former Kentucky Wildcats Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker. What the Western Conference team lacks is a big man capable of filling the lane and stat sheet each night to complement their backcourt. Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor could both help the Suns in this category, enough so to lure Phoenix into this trade.

Eric Bledsoe seems to the be the most-likely candidate for the trade because of his desire to leave the Phoenix Suns, according to an article by Bleacher Report. The report claims that Eric Bledsoe is pushing for a trade through his agent, further proof that the Phoenix Suns would consider trading the star guard for a big man like Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. Eric Bledsoe has already been mentioned in other trade rumors involving the Phoenix Suns, according to other media reports.

One reason that the Phoenix Suns are being considered a trade partner is the 76ers have realized that Jahlil Okafor doesn’t have the trade value they hoped the talented big would have, according to CBS Sports. Nerlens Noel — whom the Philadelphia 76ers wish to keep — is part of the bait being dangled to entice a trade partner.

Trading for Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor would also help make the Phoenix frontcourt younger, matching their youthful guard group. Only center Alex Len is among the top contributors on the Suns’ roster under 30.

Nerlens Noel is entering his third year in the league, having suffered lost playing time due to injuries sustained prior to his rookie season. The former Kentucky Wildcat started 62 games this past season, averaging 11.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per outing.

Jahlil Okafor — who had his season cut short due to injuries — had an outstanding run during the 53 games he participated in this season. The Duke athlete started 48 of those games this season, averaging 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

Eric Bledsoe had the shortest season of the group, playing in 31 games before going down with a knee injury. The Phoenix Suns star posted career highs in points (20.4) and assists (6.1) in his strongest season of a six-year career.

What do you think the rumors suggesting either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor will be traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Eric Bledsoe and other assets? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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