Is a Jahlil Okafor trade in the works? It appears that the Philadelphia 76ers are ready to deal one of their centers. Should the Chicago Bulls look to trade for Okafor? There are a few things the Bulls should consider. And a legitimate trade can take place with the 76ers.
With the Philadelphia 76ers on a recent surge, from the 76ers standards at least, are they going to finally pull off a deal?
Recent rumblings and NBA trade rumors suggest that they will. Currently, the Philadelphia 76ers have too many centers on their roster. The thought is that Sixers will unload at least one of them before the NBA trade deadline.
There is an embarrassment of riches for the Philadelphia 76ers when it comes to their centers. The Sixers have Joel Embiid playing at an NBA all-star level, Nerlens Noel is beginning to get some playing time, and the 76ers like Richaun Holmes. Which leaves Jahlil Okafor.
The eventual NBA debut of Ben Simmons will likely take place before the NBA February 23rd trade deadline comes. Where does that leave Okafor?
According to an ESPN report, Jahlil Okafor appears to be the one Sixers’ player on the move to another NBA team. That team could be the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, or San Antonio Spurs. The latter team would normally come across as a surprise, but the Spurs have to eventually get some youth in their frontcourt.
Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown has had some glowing words to say about his second-year center.
“Jahlil Okafor is a professional scorer. He’s 21 years old and his defense is getting better, his rebounding is getting better, his positioning and awareness defensively is getting better.”
“When you weigh it all up and you say, ‘Well this is the package of Jahlil Okafor,’ that’s pretty appealing at age 21.”
It seems easy to read between the lines with what Brown. The Philadelphia 76ers’ coach is participating in terrific salesmanship. And it is likely because he has an inkling that the 76ers are going to trade Jahlil Okafor by the NBA trade deadline. If that holds true, the Chicago Bulls must be the first team on the phone with the Sixers.
Why the Chicago Bulls?
The Bulls are looking at ways of getting younger and more athletic. The 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor is not as athletic of a player as the Bulls need, but his offensive ability could help them a great deal.
An added bonus for the Bulls is that Okafor is a Chicago-native. He could learn under the tutelage of Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler. Getting an education from such pros as Wade and Butler would help Jahlil Okafor tremendously.
Okafor is in desperate need of a new team. The 76ers’ center has only played in two of Philadelphia’s last six games, according to CSN Philly. Languishing on the 76ers’ is not the best way for Okafor to draw trade interest from other teams, but thus far, it has only minimally hurt his trade value.
The Philadelphia 76ers have kept Okafor glued to the bench a lot in an effort to maximize Joel Embiid’s minutes. With the Chicago Bulls Jahlil Okafor would either become a starter, or one of the first reserve players to come off the Bulls’ bench.
For the Chicago Bulls to make a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers they would have to give up one of their young players and two future draft picks.
Of those two draft picks that the Bulls would have to offer the 76ers, one of them must be a first rounder. Perhaps the first round selection for this year’s draft. As for a young player, the Bulls could dangle either Bobby Portis or Paul Zipser. Both could use some more court time. Both could also help the 76ers.
In Portis’ case, he is more of a tweener in a center’s body. His outside game could benefit a team such as the Philadelphia 76ers. Zipser is a more traditional tweener, whose potential could be a poor man’s Thaddeus Young.
One key to a deal between the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls is that the Sixers have to get to the floor of the NBA’s salary cap. What the Bulls could, and should do is gauge the 76ers’ interest in taking on Rajon Rondo’s contract.
The Bulls could convince the 76ers that including Rondo in a deal is the best way to get to that threshold. After acquiring Rondo, the Philadelphia 76ers can waive him immediately, and keep his money in their salary structure.
To make things a bit more even, the Philadelphia 76ers can send the Chicago Bulls a second round pick. That pick would be slated for a few years down the road.
Getting Jahlil Okafor from the Philadelphia 76ers would be a great step towards the future for the Chicago Bulls. Trading Okafor and getting back a player like Bobby Portis or Paul Zipser offers the 76ers more balance to their roster, especially if they are looking to trade Nerlens Noel also.
Although nothing is set in stone, expect some noise coming from several NBA trade rumors offering different scenarios with both the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls involved.
[Featured Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]