With recent NBA trade rumors involving Jahlil Okafor, a move to either the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, or Phoenix Suns could make the most sense. That latest speculation comes from an NBA writer and ESPN insider who believes each of those three teams fit the criteria for who should acquire Okafor in a trade. It’s also a response to a mailbag question asking why it wouldn’t make sense for the Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago Bulls to offer the 76ers a second-round pick or “nominal asset” for Okafor. Here’s the latest on why these particular teams could be the right trade partners for an Okafor deal.
Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor has been on the trading block ever since last season, when rumors kept swirling about him. The 76ers parted ways with power forward/center Nerlens Noel before Okafor, as they had a logjam at the big man spot. The team patiently waited for Joel Embiid to be able to participate more in games. Now that the team has Ben Simmons and Embiid both seeming to be in decent form, they’ve begun to seriously consider potential offers for Okafor. However, ESPN‘s Kevin Pelton contends that if he were an NBA general manager, the last thing he’d do is make a trade to get Okafor because he’d prefer to acquire him in free agency.
Pelton also says if an Okafor trade were to take place, there are three teams that make sense: the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, or Phoenix Suns. These are three teams that are rebuilding and could benefit from acquiring him, but they also have to be cautious as he’ll need to be re-signed as an unrestricted free agent. Okafor, a former No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, hasn’t looked all that appealing as an asset for most teams to trade for. That’s mostly due to his issues in Philadelphia and the fact that he didn’t necessarily improve the team much at all.
For the 2017-18 NBA season, Okafor is averaging modest numbers of a near double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks per game. However, that may be deceiving, as he recorded those stats in the only game he played this season, a loss against the Toronto Raptors on October 21. Otherwise, Okafor is a regular fixture on the Philadelphia 76ers’ bench as they mull over what to do with him.
His career numbers don’t exactly advertise him to be a future star by any stretch of the imagination, although the right situation could always improve him. Okafor has averaged under 15 points and just six rebounds per game for his short career, thus far. That may be why teams aren’t quick to pull the trigger on an NBA trade and are instead waiting to see if they might be able to get Okafor to sign during free agency. It would mean the acquiring team doesn’t give up any assets in the process of adding Jahlil Okafor to their roster.
As of right now, the Brooklyn Nets (3-6) and Chicago Bulls (2-5) are among the bottom three teams in the Eastern Conference. The Phoenix Suns (4-5) are amongst the bottom five in an already competitive Western Conference. Whether or not one of these NBA teams makes a move to add Jahlil Okafor to their already struggling lineup remains to be seen, but it seems more likely that teams could wait things out for the 2018 NBA Draft.
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