Jahlil Okafor to the Chicago Bulls?
According to The Sixer Sense, the Bulls’ interest in Jahlil Okafor have intensified as of late.
That is the latest of NBA rumors that have begun to swirl as NBA teams are adding the final pieces to their rosters. But as some teams have or are finalizing their rosters, the Bulls appear to have some unfinished business. The Bulls want to return to the postseason after missing the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. Being linked to Jahlil Okafor means that the Bulls are dead serious about playing basketball games in May and June.
The Bulls’ interest in putting together an Eastern Conference contender has led them in a couple of different directions. NBA rumors have the Bulls interested in DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay of the Sacramento Kings. Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, and Lance Stephenson are other players who the Bulls have been linked to. All but Stephenson must be had in trade.
Of the players the Chicago Bulls are interested in, Rudy Gay is the most realistic possibility. Outside of Jahlil Okafor, Rudy Gay would be able to allow the Bulls to keep most of the players they have a high regard for. Over the past couple of months, the Bulls have told rival teams who is available and who they prefer to hold on to.
That means any inquiry about guard Jimmy Butler or shooter Doug McDermott will be rebuffed. As of now, both Butler and McDermott are part of the Bulls’ future. With only one dominate team in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls have a feeling that they are not far away from being in the conference finals at the worst. It requires a smart trade in order for the Bulls to get there. If there is any truth to the latest NBA rumor, a smart move is coming.
According to the website Yibada, the Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, and Sacramento Kings have considered a three-way trade. In the scenario the Bulls would send Taj Gibson to the Kings, who would trade Gay to the 76ers. That would end with the Bulls landing Jahlil Okafor. It works for each team involved, but a couple of other players and draft picks may have to be included.
As for the 76ers, getting Rudy Gay would be a coup.
Besides a glaring hole at point guard, veteran leadership ranks high on the 76ers’ list of needs. Looking at the 76ers, there are very few players with more than five years of NBA experience. Not only does Gay fill that void, but he is also a scorer capable of taking over a game when called upon. Gay turns a possible 23-win 76ers team to a club that could reel off closer to 30 victories. Rudy Gay does not completely solve all of Philadelphia’s problems, but he helps them while helping himself.
Rudy Gay could enter free agency next season if he decides to use his opt-out clause. A strong season would make him desirable to another team. It would also help the 76ers in terms of the salary cap floor.
The truth is, the 76ers need to add some salary in order to be near the minimum amount on the books. It is not a strange idea that the 76ers would take on Rudy Gay; they have been interested in him for some time.
That leaves the Chicago Bulls.
Why the Bulls want Jahlil Okafor is obvious. Okafor is a strong fit with the Chicago Bulls.
He is one of the the last true centers in the NBA, and does not turn 21 until December. The ability to be a dominant low-post player is there. Work is needed on the defensive end, but Okafor has the adaptability to improve his footwork in order to improve there.
If the Bulls were to add Okafor, they would likely start him over Robin Lopez. That would give the Bulls better balance to their roster.
Technically, Lopez is the only natural center on the Bulls. Rebounding and rim protection will be an issue if they do not add Okafor or another center. Okafor turns the Bulls into a more conventional-looking team.
Getting better is on the minds of the Chicago Bulls. They appear to be involved in several NBA rumors. The latest rumor has them in pursuit of Philadelphia 76ers’ center Jahlil Okafor. With the help of the Sacramento Kings, the Bulls may get what they need.
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]