Woj with a dusting late today:
Chicago has continued to push on a trade for 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, league sources tell @TheVertical. Discussions continue.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 23, 2017
The Sixers 2nd-year big man has been in the Bulls rumor mill for a majority of this month. Seemingly almost traded last week when he was held out of games, Okafor had since re-joined the team but apparently still doesn’t look to be in their future plans.
It’s notable that his team just recently made a deal, punting away Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks. That potentially frees up frontcourt minutes but Okafor...but not really, since he cannot space the floor at all and thus can’t play alongside Embiid or Noel (and thus why he’s on the trade block).
But let’s speculate: Sixers playing time could be open for Nikola Mirotic, as the Bulls have now reportedly inflicted one final indignity on their former prize by shopping him while also having Bobby Portis take his minutes.
Niko’s a free agent (who the Bulls surely won’t pay), so while Philly may not be getting a long look at him, they’d have his restricted free agency rights and he is nearly 3 years younger than Ilyasova.
Okafor, meanwhile, is only 21 years old, and though not really much of an athlete nor a fit here, he does have some offensive skill and since when have the Bulls looked to round out their team in a logical manner. If paired with a Robin Lopez trade to free up the center spot (Okafor can’t play power foward), and not including a high-quality asset going to Philadelphia (Kings pick?), I don’t have a real problem with just getting cost-controlled lottery talent for the sake of it. But if Philly is still treating Okafor as having lottery-pick-type value, then the Bulls should move on.