NBA trade rumors have been persistent for a number of players over the past few weeks. One of those players, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, became entangled in the rumor mill after he professed to CBS Sports that he and shooting guard Bradley Beal “have a tendency to dislike each other on the court.” That signaled a possible breakup between Wall and Beal, and NBA trade rumors have been flowing about both players ever since Wall went public with the problems he has encountered with Bradley Beal.
Another poorly kept secret has been the Philadelphia 76ers’ desire to trade one of their centers. The team had a nightmarish season in 2015-16, but despite their 10-72 regular season record and general dearth of talent, the Sixers have three quality centers on their roster (Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel). Philadelphia knows they must eventually trade one of their big men to better balance their roster, so Noel and Okafor have been mentioned in countless NBA trade rumors in recent weeks. According to SportsGrid, one of the prime destinations for Jahlil Okafor would be the Washington Wizards.
Reports such as these have spawned a fresh rumor that is currently circulating the internet. The rumored trade proposal involves the Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards, and Phoenix Suns. The Sixers would acquire NBA All-Star John Wall, while the Wizards would receive two players: center Jahlil Okafor and point guard Brandon Knight. The Suns would be compensated via two first-round draft picks — one in 2017, and a second choice in 2019 (both coming from Philadelphia).
One might question the validity of this scenario, since Phoenix would be sending out a player and getting only draft picks in return. However, the structure of this hypothetical swap allows this to happen, and the salaries of Jahlil Okafor and Brandon Knight are a nearly identical match for John Wall’s annual income, so this would indeed be a legal trade per NBA trade and salary cap rules (confirmed via the ESPN NBA Trade Machine).
The Philadelphia 76ers franchise is frankly in a world of hurt right now, and adding a star player like John Wall would be a huge shot in the arm for a team that has hit rock bottom. The cost, according to this NBA trade rumor, would be Jahlil Okafor and two first-round draft picks. This is about as close to a no-brainer trade as you can get — Okafor is a talented young player, but he is a duplicate part since the team also has Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. The two first-round picks hold significant value, but compared to John Wall in his prime at age 26? Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo would do this trade all day, every day.
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The Phoenix Suns would lose Brandon Knight in this rumored deal, and he is coming off another outstanding season in Phoenix (19.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game in 2015-16). The good news here is that the Suns also have Eric Bledsoe at point guard, who is arguably even more talented, and currently starts ahead of Knight at lead guard. This is a logjam similar to what Philadelphia is experiencing at the center position, and Phoenix would like to move either Bledsoe or Knight, as multiple reports indicate.
Agreeing to trade Knight for two first-round picks would certainly be a move that would be made with the future in mind, but this might be as good an offer as the Suns are likely to see for Brandon Knight. While not a home run trade, it is very conceivable that the Phoenix Suns would say yes to this proposal not only to solve their problem at point guard, but to stockpile some nice assets that will help build their team over the next several years.
Now we come to the Washington Wizards, who will make or break this rumored three-way swap. Normally, a team would not consider dealing a player of John Wall’s caliber even for a fair package, but if Wall and Bradley Beal continue to have difficulties playing together, that perception could change. Realistically, it appears doubtful that Washington would consider this trade right away, but if the team is struggling and/or Wall and Beal are still at odds in a couple of months, it could be an entirely different story.
Even if the Wizards began to consider a move to ship out John Wall or Bradley Beal, there is one part of this trade scenario that might be a deal-breaker. Brandon Knight and Jahlil Okafor for Wall is a fair offer on the surface, but there is one big problem: Washington already has two good and well-paid centers (Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi), so making a deal for Jahlil Okafor would not be logical. Because that one key piece doesn’t fit, the Wizards would have to pass on this three-team, three-player, two draft pick trade proposal.
The latest NBA trade rumors that are propagating online are suggesting that a deal between the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Washington Wizards could be in the works. The Sixers would love this trade, and the Suns would probably throw their hat in the ring as well. The Wizards’ end of this arrangement would offer reasonable value, but since they are well-stocked at the center position, Washington’s stance on this offer would be “no, thank you.” As NBA trade rumors go, this one is thought-provoking, but it is not likely to jump from the rumor mill to the NBA’s list of confirmed transactions.
[Featured Image by Alex Brandon/AP Images]