Jahlil Okafor was expected to be a superstar when he was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. The Philadelphia 76ers were hoping to get a top-notch offensive threat, but unfortunately, they have seen their young big man go through injury after injury in his young career.
Now, 76ers’ head coach Brett Brown has made it clear that the team is pursuing a potential trade involving Okafor.
At just 21 years of age, Okafor is still a more than reasonable trade target for quite a few teams. There has been no report about which teams could be potential trade destinations for Okafor. That being said, there is one team in particular that could make a lot of sense for Okafor, as they are set to go into a rebuilding process of their own.
After trading Paul George, the Indiana Pacers are a team that could be a perfect fit for Okafor. They are looking to rebuild with young talent and adding a player with the potential that Okafor possesses would be a risk worth taking.
Last season with the 76ers, Okafor ended up averaging 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He shot 51.4 percent from the field, but was only able to play in 50 regular season games. Despite the injury issues, Okafor has proven that he is a capable scorer in the NBA and is young enough to get his career back on track.
Indiana has Myles Turner and Victor Oladipo as the faces of their franchise heading into the 2017-18 season. They also have great young pieces in Cory Joseph, Glenn Robinson III, Domantas Sabonis, and even Lance Stephenson to build around for the future. Okafor may not have shown his full potential yet, but a change of scenery could be exactly what he needs.
Turner is expected to make the leap to All-Star status this season for the Pacers. Pairing him in the front-court with Okafor would be a scary thought for opposing defenses.
Nate McMillan has always liked running his offense through the post. Turner has not shown consistency as a post scorer, but Okafor has shown off a strong ability to score in the paint. Having his skill-set would make the offense much more dangerous and could bring the team together as a whole.
What could the Pacers offer Philadelphia back in return for Okafor? Obviously, a pick could be in play, but the Pacers could also offer an expiring contract like Al Jefferson. There are plenty of different routes that the Pacers could go to get a trade for Okafor completed.
Okafor is not the type of pickup that the Pacers should build their future around. He is simply the type of addition that could end up taking a rebuilding team forward in their rebuilding process by a year or two if he can stay healthy.
Kevin Pritchard has always been known to be aggressive on the trade market and the Pacers were rumored to be interested in acquiring Okafor last year at the trade deadline. Perhaps their interest is still valid as preseason play continues to draw closer.
Expect to hear Okafor’s name come up more in the coming weeks. Philadelphia seems very interested in moving on from him and the Pacers should at least explore making a deal to acquire him.
Do you think the Indiana Pacers should try to acquire Jahlil Okafor from the 76ers? If not, what teams do you think would be his best landing spots? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Chris Szagola/AP Images]