NBA Rumors: Philadelphia 76ers Forced To Trade One Of Their Bigs

Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor? Eventually, one of the promising frontcourt players from the Philadelphia 76ers will have to go. Who will the 76ers trade, and when?

That was the question when the NBA offseason began and remains a question for the Philadelphia 76ers today. Since the NBA draft worked out the way that the Sixers had hoped, several uncertainties have hovered over the franchise. With a direction that is finally transparent, in order to build a winner, what must the 76ers do now?

A simple answer to the inquiry is for the 76ers to say goodbye to a talented power forward or center as soon as they find a deal that they like.

In other words, either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor must get traded by the 76ers.

There is a serious logjam in the Philadelphia 76ers’ frontcourt. Neither player from that frontcourt is a proven commodity just yet. Noel and Okafor are beginning to come into their own, but they still have some work to do. Both are them are fine players for the 76ers, but could they crack the Golden State Warriors‘ rotation?

Could either Noel or Okafor even crack the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ rotation?

Ben Simmons
The addition of Ben Simmons with the selection of the No. 1 pick creates a logjam in the Philadelphia 76ers' frontcourt. [Photo by Mike Strobe/Getty Images]

The answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second inquiry is questionable. There is only one reason for the Timberwolves to play Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, and that would be for the purpose of developing young talent. That is why the 76ers have been playing them. Unfortunately for the 76ers’ young frontcourt duo, there are other players who need to be groomed also.

One of them is the No. 1 pick of the draft, Ben Simmons. Another player is Joel Embiid, who is finally healthy enough to play his first NBA game after being drafted two offseasons ago. And then there is Dario Saric. He joins the 76ers this season.

With this list of players, which did not include Jerami Grant or Richaun Holmes, there are not enough minutes to go around for everyone. Looking closely at the Sixers’ roster, via NBA, a huge void at point guard is prevalent. Unless Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez or Brandon Paul can convincingly overtake one another for the starting point guard duties, the 76ers will have to trade for one.

The biggest trade bait the 76ers have is the frontcourt duo of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. Although FanSided’s The Sixers Sense suggests that talks of a 76ers’ trade must be put on hold for now.

Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor is a legitimate post presence. Could the Philadelphia 76ers trade the talented center to the Boston Celtics? [Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]

Of the teams which are interested in one of the Sixers’ bigs, the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns make the most sense.

The Celtics want another star level talent to group with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. They have the players in place to make a trade with the 76ers happen. At times the Celtics will overvalue their roster, and look to win a trade versus consummate one. Those are the primary reasons why they have not done a deal yet.

The 76ers could send Jahlil Okafor to the Celtics for either Marcus Smart in an even deal. Or they can add Avery Bradley in a larger trade. It takes two teams to make something work.

As for the Phoenix Suns, there is a lack of frontcourt players. With rookie Marquese Chriss onboard, and likely two years away from contributing to the team, adding Nerlens Noel would be a great find.

Looking to find more playing time for Devin Booker, the Suns are reportedly looking to trade, courtesy of Bleacher Report, one of their point guards.

Like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Phoenix Suns have an either-or situation on their hands. The Suns will either have to trade Eric Bledsoe, which they deny is on the trading block, or they will have to send Brandon Knight out in a deal.

Because Knight has the more manageable contract, he should be appealing to the 76ers. Bledsoe, on the other hand, is the better overall fit.

Because it is the 76ers’ plan to have the ball in Ben Simmons’ hands often, they do not need a ball-dominant point guard. In the Suns’ offense, Bledsoe plays off the ball the most, despite being two inches shorter than Brandon Knight. He is a better scorer than Knight, while the latter has the edge on pure shooting.

Eric Bledsoe
Will Eric Bledsoe be traded to create more playing time for Devin Booker? [Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

Where the Suns would benefit from trading with the 76ers is getting back another rim protector on the rise in Nerlens Noel. With Jahlil Okafor, Phoenix would land a true post player, who is improving his outside touch. That would aid the 76ers, getting them closer to being a playoff team in a year. That is the goal for the 76ers going forward. Building a team that can compete for championships will come next.

Everything hinges on the 76ers finding a deal that they like. The Sixers have a glut of frontcourt players. Because of this one of them have to play somewhere else. There is too much young talent to play everyone. In a perfect world, Ben Simmons was a bigger small forward, allowing everyone to remain where they are.

Simmons plays power forward. The same position as Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, Jerami Grant, and Richaun Holmes. Only Noel has solid trade value. The 76ers might be able to get a projected backup point guard for Grant, but that is not enough.

Who will the Philadelphia 76ers trade?

Will it be Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor?

The Philadelphia 76ers will not have too long to decide. Deciding to stand pat could only create a bad environment for the young 76ers. Philadelphia has had it bad for far too long.

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