NBA trade rumors have been following the Los Angeles Lakers for two primary reasons: at 15-31 they have one of the worst records in the NBA, and they are a team loaded with young assets that other clubs are interested in obtaining. The Sporting News reports that during a recent period of trade talks, one player the Lakers have shown interest in is Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel.
According to Fansided, the Sixers are also looking to become players in the trade market, and one of their targets could be Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio. This article reveals that the Timberwolves would like to receive a point guard in return for Rubio who can be a stop-gap starter until rookie Kris Dunn is ready to move into the starting lineup. One veteran player who fits that description is Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jose Calderon.
There have been multiple published articles that point toward Minnesota's interest in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor. A story from Metro offers that the Timberwolves are intrigued by Jahlil Okafor, and opines that Philadelphia should try to make a deal with Minnesota for the 76ers' young big man. Sportsrageous adds yet another potential trade scenario where Jahlil Okafor would land in Minnesota as part of a transaction with the Sixers.
The latest NBA trade rumors are buzzing about a possible deal between the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Minnesota Timberwolves. The scenario that is being discussed online would have Nerlens Noel heading to the Lakers. The Sixers would receive Ricky Rubio, center Tarik Black, and the top three protection removed from Los Angeles' 2017 first-round draft pick that is currently the property of the 76ers. The Timberwolves would conclude this hypothetical swap by bringing in Jahlil Okafor and Jose Calderon.
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This rumored offer looks very good for the Los Angeles Lakers on the surface, but there are some potential snags related to this proposal. Nerlens Noel will be a free agent after the 2016-17 season, so there is no guarantee the Lakers will be able to keep him beyond the last half of this season if they make a move for him now. Also, removing the top three protection from the draft pick that Philadelphia owns could cost Los Angeles a future star (based on their current record, the Lakers would have the No. 3 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft).
If this deal goes through, it would solve some issues for the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid looks like a star in the making, so the team would like to deal at least one of their other centers -- Okafor and Noel are simply too talented to sit on the bench. This transaction would send out both Okafor and Noel, and the team would acquire a suitable backup for Embiid with the addition of Tarik Black. Ricky Rubio is a point guard the Sixers have been eyeing for quite some time, and he would represent a significant upgrade for Philadelphia. The 76ers would be gambling a bit regarding the top three protection on the Lakers' 2017 draft pick, but that could be a huge bonus if that draft choice does in fact end up in the top three.
The Minnesota Timberwolves would open up a spot for Kris Dunn by agreeing to this rumored proposal, and they'd also obtain a veteran as a short-term starter in Jose Calderon. Jahlil Okafor is a talented low-post player, but he is not a good defensive center. If he and Karl-Anthony Towns were able to play together, the Timberwolves would have the two worst defensive big men in the NBA on the floor at the same time, per ESPN's NBA Real Plus-Minus statistics.
This deal could cost the Lakers very little, or it could end up costing them a top three draft pick this coming summer. The same uncertainty is there for the 76ers, since they currently own that draft choice via a previous deal with Los Angeles. The removal of the top three protection might mean absolutely nothing, but it could be a key part of this transaction for the Sixers depending on how the ping-pong balls fall in the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery.
This sample from the most recent batch of NBA trade rumors contains some thought-provoking parameters. Seeing what the Lakers and 76ers would decide to do in this scenario would be compelling, but all of that intrigue may ultimately be ruined by Minnesota. This swap makes sense for them on some levels, but Jahlil Okafor probably isn't a good enough fit for the Timberwolves to get them to pull the trigger on this rumored proposal, so it's doubtful that this trade will happen.
[Featured Image by Danny Moloshok/AP Images]