The latest NBA news involves rumors that the Celtics are discussing a trade with the 76ers for big man Jahlil Okafor. Previously, there were rumors that the Celtics’ target was another Philadelphia center, Nerlens Noel, but it seems that the focus of those trade discussions has shifted.
According to CBS Sports, Boston and Philadelphia are in fact talking about a potential deal. However, the Celtics are hesitant to give up a lot for Okafor.
“Word out of Boston is that the Celtics will not give up much for the six-foot-eleven, 257-pounder. They have concerns about his playing in the city after being involved in two street fights there in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning. Nor do they like the fact that the center saw a gun pointed at his head in Old City and that he was stopped for going 108 mph over the Ben Franklin Bridge.”
The Celtics’ interest in Okafor appears to be very real, but they are trying to pry him away from the 76ers on the cheap. Boston is not only concerned about some of Okafor’s off-the-court issues, but they are concerned about his lack of athleticism, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.
On the plus side, Jahlil Okafor is a polished offensive player, especially in the post. Boston sees him as a good match alongside newly acquired Al Horford in the frontcourt. Philly reports that Okafor became the Celtics’ trade target once they decided to bring back another big man, Amir Johnson, earlier this summer.
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Around the NBA, rumors had been making the rounds that the Celtics were looking to make a big splash by trading for Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook or the Clippers’ Blake Griffin. Those deals would likely require Boston to give up valuable assets, and as a result, those trades don’t seem likely as the offseason rolls on.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been exploring trade opportunities for weeks, if not months. They are loaded with talent at the center position (Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Okafor) and need to make at least one move to balance out their roster. They have reportedly been talking to a number of teams about their trio of young and talented centers, but a deal has not been consummated thus far.
Jahlil Okafor played one season for Duke University before declaring for the NBA Draft. In his one season as a Blue Devil, he averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest. Okafor was chosen third overall in the 2015 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, but had an up-and-down rookie season. On the court, Okafor was generally productive, posting 17.5 points and seven rebounds per game for the Sixers. However, he had several missteps off the court that have raised doubts about his future in the NBA.
The Boston Celtics have made it known that they are not finished remaking their team, and they want to make at least one more significant trade before the summer is over. They may have whiffed on All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin, but they continue to explore the market with the intent of landing a “big fish.”
Multiple NBA news reports are indicating that the Celtics are currently kicking the tires on Jahlil Okafor. Do you think the young center is what Boston needs to continue their move up the Eastern Conference ladder?
[Photo by Reinhold Matay/AP Images]