NBA Trade Rumors: Are The Chicago Bulls Closing In On Jahlil Okafor Trade? [Opinion]

If you believe the recent NBA trade rumors, Jahlil Okafor playing for the Chicago Bulls or the Atlanta Hawks seems like a foregone conclusion. At least, that was one of the NBA trade rumors going around for the past couple of days. The Philadelphia 76ers will have to settle for a reasonable asking price for the talented traditional center.

NBA.com’s David Aldridge reported that the trade talks for Jahlil Okafor have come down to two teams: Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. Trading for Okafor comes at a huge risk, but it is one that both teams appear comfortable in taking.

The Chicago Bulls may be considered the favorites to land Okafor from the Philadelphia 76ers. Of the two teams mentioned by Aldridge, the Bulls are in a better position to assume the risk.

Any NBA team looking to trade for Jahlil Okafor takes on the risk that he can walk in free agency for nothing next summer. That is because the 76ers declined their team option (courtesy of Liberty Ballers) for the fourth and final season of Okafor’s contract. By doing so, the 76ers handcuffed themselves in finding reasonable trade value for Jahlil Okafor.

Not only would a team like the Bulls or Hawks risk losing Okafor to free agency, they can only re-sign him to a contract of around $6 million in the offseason. That has already eliminated the majority of the teams interested in a trade for the former No. 3 overall pick.

However, it has opened the door for the Bulls and Hawks to strike. Expect either the Bulls or the Hawks to acquire Okafor in a trade with the 76ers soon. For now, the Bulls have to be considered as the favorites to trade for him.

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The thought that the Bulls are the favorites to land Jahlil Okafor has floated around. Okafor played high school basketball in Chicago, and any possibility of playing for the Bulls would be regarded as a homecoming for him. The opportunity to be in familiar circumstances could be justification for Okafor to re-sign with the Bulls if they were to trade for him.

The Bulls can offer the 76ers a point guard and a second-round pick. One of the point guards on the Bulls’ roster becomes expendable when Cameron Payne returns from his foot injury (courtesy of Yahoo Sports) in December or January after having surgery.

Payne returning to the Chicago Bulls gives the team four point guards, including Jerian Grant Kay Felder and Kris Dunn. Of that group, Dunn is the only Bulls player who is untouchable.

The Bulls can offer the 76ers a trade package of Grant and a second-round pick for Okafor. Another idea that the Bulls could consider is a swap of Payne and two second-round picks. The 76ers are in need of a secondary ball-handler.

Possibly acquiring Jerian Grant from the Bulls would give the 76ers what they need. Grant is also a solid three-point shooter capable of stretching a defense.

It is not as if Grant is falling out of favor with the Bulls. He is close to being overtaken in the starting lineup by Kris Dunn. Dunn is showing a higher upside than Grant at the moment. Also, after the Bulls traded Jimmy Butler for Dunn, Zach LaVine, and Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls want to give Dunn every chance to produce.

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In the case of Cameron Payne going in a trade for Jahlil Okafor, he would get a clean slate with yet another NBA franchise. His Bulls experiment has not worked out well.

The Philadelphia 76ers do not seem desperate in trading Okafor. However, the longer they wait, the less they can get in return if a trade takes place. The 76ers were known to be seeking a first-round draft pick last February. Now, getting a second-round pick for the former No. 3 selection would come across as a win.

The Atlanta Hawks are in the running for Jahlil Okafor. It is possible that the Milwaukee Bucks may have interest. The Chicago Bulls have been kicking the tires on a trade for a while. The Bulls can strike now, or they can wait until he hits the open market in the offseason. The Bulls will be one of only a handful of NBA teams with cap space in July.

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