NBA trade rumors out of Philadelphia claim the Sixers are looking to alleviate some of the congestion up the middle. The Sixers, who boast their 2015 #1 draft pick (third overall) Jahlil Okafor and former New Orleans Pelicans’ 2013 #1 pick (sixth overall) Nerlens Noel at Center, have been searching for an answer for quite some time as to who will be backing up Joel Embiid in the future.
Now, the team is open to trading either the 21-year-old Okafor or 22-year-old Noel for the right compensation.
According to ESPN, NBA trade rumors concerning Okafor, in particular, seem to have a little more bite to them than they might have had in the past with the NBA trade deadline of February 23 quickly approaching.
“I don’t think Okafor is as bad as he looks many nights in Philly…. He needs a change of scenery badly, and all indications are that the Sixers are going to give it to him — probably in the next month,” said Ford, per NJ.com. “On a different team in a different situation, I think Okafor can be a quality starter in the NBA someday.”
Sadly, Okafor’s NBA star value has been tarnished in the past season and a half.
Lending credence to the NBA trade rumors surrounding him, the 6’11”, 275 pound Okafor has failed to capitalize on the promise that the Sixers thought he had when they drafted him in 2015. After posting an average of 17.5 points per game his rookie year in a season in which the Sixers went 10-72, the former Duke player has taken a back seat to Embiid as well as Noel.
That backseat has, unfortunately, given way to little-to-no playing time for the once promising Okafor, who is averaging just 11.2 points in 22.8 minutes per game this season; a campaign in which he has also racked up a few “DNP” designations from Sixers coach Brett Brown.
Believes Embiid should be available.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) January 18, 2017
In spite of Brown’s reluctance to play Jahlil, he did recently tell ESPN that the young center “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.”
Everything, it seems, for Jahlil Okafor, is getting better.
Perhaps a change of scenery would be better as well.
NBA trade rumors surrounding Okafor, according to a recent article by the Inquisitr, have the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers as his most likely landing spots.
In particular, rumors centered around the Sixers’ perceived interest in the Wolves’ talented 26-year-old point guard Ricky Rubio make many think that when the Sixers actually do pull the trigger, Minnesota will be involved in some way.
According to Yahoo Sports, a league official said that the Timberwolves are “actively shopping Rubio in trade proposals.”
Of course, Minnesota is not the only team in play for one of the Sixers’ backup centers.
The Lakers continue to be at the center of speculation concerning Jahlil’s teammate Nerlens Noel.
Recent NBA trade rumors have the 6’11”, 228-pound Noel bound for Los Angeles in a potential multi-player trade that currently seems light on the details. What is known is that the Lakers are hell-bent on retaining their young players and engaging in the rebuilding process.
To that end, regarding NBA trade rumors, the Sixers and the Lakers share something in common.
“I think it’s just silly… this situation that we are in now with three starting centers,” said Nerlens in September, per Philly.com. “With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer.”
“I think,” he continued, “something needs to happen.”
And for the sake of a city holding its breath as the NBA trade deadline quickly approaches, it almost seems imminent that such change might finally be in the air.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]