It has been inevitable from the start of this season that there would be an odd man out of the 76ers’ center conundrum. To this point, Nerlens Noel has proved to be the much more effective option to be the backup to Joel Embiid, leaving Jahlil Okafor out to dry. It is clear that he needs a change of scenery, which would help out both himself and the 76ers.
To this point, Nerlens Noel has proved to be the much more effective option to be the backup to Joel Embiid, putting the letters “DNP” next to Okafor’s name in the box score a lot recently. Then rumors began to swirl about the Chicago Bulls having an interest in the former Blue Devil, making one think about different trade possibilities involving Okafor. I will detail three different scenarios that could play out if Okafor is traded to his hometown of Chicago.
Jahlil Okafor and Nothing Else
This scenario is the one that will leave Sixers fans the most disappointed. Here is the problem, what GM in the league is gonna want a ball dominant center who doesn’t want to defend, or rebound? Combine this with your abundance of centers, and you will only get pennies on the dollar for Okafor. General managers are perfectly fine with the Sixers center situation, and would rather have the situation combust than pay equal value for Okafor or Noel. So I would be shocked if Colangelo can get a Doug McDermott or a Denzel Valentine in this scenario. The most likely part about this scenario is that it would be for an overpriced veteran the Bulls don’t want anymore, like a Rajon Rondo or Robin Lopez. I cannot see the Sixers making a trade like this anyway. Let’s face it, Jahlil Okafor’s value was never higher than when Adam Silver called his name on draft night. It has been on a rapid decline ever since, and can’t be recovered while he is sitting most nights.
Let’s face it, Jahlil Okafor’s value was never higher than when Adam Silver called his name on draft night. It has been on a rapid decline ever since, and can’t be recovered while he is sitting most nights.
Jahlil Okafor in a Package Deal
This is a scenario that I can most likely see play out. Jahlil Okafor is the main piece in a trade but is also coupled with a draft pick in order to acquire a shooter like Doug McDermott. I am using McDermott as the example again because I would love to see his shooting off the bench for the Sixers. With the Sixers abundance of draft picks, and the Bulls going nowhere fast, I could see a trade like this getting worked out around the deadline.
Ok, this is my favorite scenario of them all. Jimmy Butler would be a really fun player to have with the Sixers, and this may be the year for the Sixers to make a blockbuster deal. With the unrest in Chicago and, again, the team is going nowhere, this could be the end of the road for Jimmy Butler in Chicago. Okafor will be the “extra piece” involved in this deal in order to put the deal over the top. Here is what I imagine would be the deal to get Jimmy Butler:
Sixers 2017 unprotected first rounder
Lakers 2017 top-3 protected first rounder
Maybe it would even take Sacramento’s unprotected 2019 first rounder to do it. Trust me, I would be excited if this happened, but I would rather throw that kind of a deal at the Pacers for Paul George if he became available. I just think that he would be the better fit with the Sixers.
Truthfully, if the Sixers make any of the deals, it would be best for all parties involved. Okafor can get out of a crowded center situation and the Sixers can get something in return for Okafor rather than just letting him rot on the bench.
Who knows, maybe they don’t want to pay Nerlens Noel and trade him.