Three teams who have become hotbeds of NBA trade rumors this week are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Orleans Pelicans. The Cavs are involved in several possible trade paths, one of which is trying to accomplish their goal of acquiring a quality backup point guard to take some of the playmaking responsibilities away from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. According to CSN Philly, Cleveland recently made an offer for Sixers point guard T.J. McConnell, but the parameters of that proposal were rejected by Philadelphia.
The 76ers continue to kick the tires on a number of trade possibilities for center Jahlil Okafor, and their discussions with the Pelicans have gotten to an advanced stage, as reported by Basketball Insiders. New Orleans apparently offered a future first-round pick for Okafor, but the Sixers countered by asking for point guard Jrue Holiday. These talks are ongoing, so a swap involving Okafor and Holiday could still be in the cards.
Cavaliers shooting guard Jordan McRae isn’t a household name, but his offensive talent is not a secret to teams around the league. McRae has garnered trade interest from several NBA teams, and SB Nation shares that Jordan McRae has been part of the recent talks between the Cavs and 76ers. Philadelphia may have interest in re-acquiring McRae, who the Sixers obtained in a trade with the San Antonio Spurs back in 2014. However, McRae alone was not enough to convince the 76ers to send McConnell to Cleveland in the early stages of these talks.
Current NBA trade rumors are now indicating that these trade discussions may have morphed into a three-team deal between the Cavaliers, 76ers, and Pelicans. The rumored structure of the transaction that is being negotiated would see Jrue Holiday and Jordan McRae heading to Philadelphia, while Cleveland would land T.J. McConnell. New Orleans would add Jahlil Okafor in the final part of this four-player swap. The ESPN NBA Trade Machine verifies that this would be a legal trade per NBA guidelines.
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The Philadelphia 76ers clearly need to trade one of their centers since they have three good ones, and not enough playing time for all of them. Joel Embiid is an up-and-coming star, and Nerlens Noel seems to have played his way out of the rumor mill for the most part — leaving Jahlil Okafor as the odd man out. The team has expressed interest in bringing back former Sixer Jrue Holiday, and reuniting with Jordan McRae may also have some appeal since he has demonstrated the ability to score and draw fouls during his time with the Cavs.
While McRae could be an intriguing long-term prospect, the Cleveland Cavaliers are focused on their short-term prospects, and T.J. McConnell would be much more valuable to them this season than a player such as McRae. This trade would bring the Cavs something they need: a veteran point guard who can run an offense and make plays for teammates. The cost of this deal would be very low, making this potential transaction a no-brainer for Cleveland.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans’ superstar center, has had an incredible year so far, but the team would like to move him to power forward not only to take full advantage of his skills, but to limit the amount of physical punishment he has to endure night in and night out. Jahlil Okafor would seem to be a good fit next to Davis, especially since Okafor’s deficiencies as a defensive player could be minimized by playing with a dominant defender like Davis.
This sample from the current group of NBA trade rumors circulating the internet looks like a win-win-win scenario thus far, but there is one issue that could cause these discussions to break down completely. If the Pelicans trade Jrue Holiday in this hypothetical swap, they would be left with Tim Frazier and Langston Galloway at point guard — not exactly ideal. Small forward Tyreke Evans has played the position effectively in limited minutes in the past, so he could be another option to help fill the void if Holiday is sent out.
As stated, these trade talks are continuing, so draft choices and/or players could be added to the mix if New Orleans decides they can’t make a straight-up trade of Jrue Holiday for Jahlil Okafor. This is a transaction that could work well for all three teams, but it might take a little more work to get the Pelicans to sign off on this proposal. Stay tuned, because this is a potential three-way deal that could make headlines in the days to come.
[Featured Image by Gerald Herbert/AP Images]