It is safe to add the New Orleans Pelicans as yet another interested suiter for Jahlil Okafor. The Pelicans join the Chicago Bulls as teams confirmed to have engaged in trade talks with the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to one of the NBA trade rumors circulating, the Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers are currently discussing a deal. It would reportedly be a swap of big men if a deal does get completed. The question is, would it be a good deal for both the Pelicans and 76ers?
As the NBA trade deadline approaches, several names have been attached to NBA trade rumors. From Carmelo Anthony to Jimmy Butler, many of the names rumored to be on the trading block. Unless their name is LeBron James, Steph Curry, or Kevin Durant, among a few others, it seems as if any player can be had.
One of the most mentioned names involved in NBA trade rumors is 76ers’ center Jahlil Okafor. Okafor’s name continues to get floated out the rumor mill. As more teams are revealed as potential destinations for Okafor, more will be learned about what exactly the Philadelphia 76ers are looking for.
According to ESPN, the New Orleans Pelicans have an offer in place for Jahlil Okafor. What the Pelicans are allegedly willing to give the 76ers is center Alexis Aijinca and likely a first round pick from the 2018 NBA draft. It is possible that the Pelicans foresee Okafor as a center who could pair up with their star power forward Anthony Davis. The Pelicans’ potential frontcourt could be an elite one.
Jahlil Okafor has an offensive low post game that comes across as a throwback, an ode to the traditional centers from the 80’s and 90’s. His hook shot and post fadeaway is already at a good level. Potentially playing with the New Orleans Pelicans can help Okafor expand his offense. That is because the Pelicans have Anthony Davis in place to take up much of the opposing team’s attention.
Davis already is an elite offensive player for the Pelicans. He can be even better with a natural center drawing double-teams away from him. That would make this rumored trade work if it actually happens. And what would help is if the Pelicans can convince the 76ers to accept a deal with Aijinca and a draft pick going back.
Aijinca for Okafor sounds like an uneven trade, and it heavily swings towards the Pelicans favor. It could simply come down to the 76ers believing that the Pelicans’ backup can help them going forward.
Alexis Aijinca has played nearly four of his seven NBA seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans. The 7-foot-2 Frenchman has averaged 5.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in a Pelicans’ uniform. Per 36 minutes a game, those averages become inflated to 14.2 points and 11.2 boards.
Aijinca is a solid defensive player and he would help most teams in a reserve role. If there is validity to the NBA trade rumors that he would be part of a deal for Jahlil Okafor it does not solve the 76ers’ problem.
Aijinca would be going to a 76ers’ team that is trading a center because they have a glut of them. The Pelicans would also be dealing a center to the 76ers which makes almost exactly what Okafor makes.
Philadelphia is in a place where they must add more salary to their cap in order to be at its floor. That would not put the rumored trade between the Pelicans and Sixers in jeopardy, but it could open the door for another team to become involved in trade talks.
Last week’s CSN Chicago report of the Chicago Bulls looking acquire Jahlil Okafor signals that a small bidding war could take place. The New Orleans Pelicans’ offer of Aijinca and a first round pick could simply be the starting point of the trade negotiations. It is possible that if the reported offer is accurate, the Bulls may up their offer to make it more appealing to the 76ers.
Philadelphia 76ers’ center Jahlil Okafor is on the move.
Will he be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as the reports are suggesting?
Will the Chicago Bulls, rumored to be another team in the running for Okafor increase their offer?
Will both the Bulls and Pelicans lose out to another NBA team?
Where will Jahlil Okafor be playing in March?
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]