Trade season is upon us! The Bucks and Hornets got things underway yesterday with a somewhat strange deal involving three centers (Plumlee/Hibbert/Hawes), and now we have a fresh new Bulls rumor that also involves a center. That center would be hometown kid Jahlil Okafor, who’s been jerked around in the Philadelphia 76ers rotation thanks to their gazillion big men.
So far, there's more interest on the Bulls' side than the 76ers' side, according to sources, but the Bulls are interested in Okafor's services. Because salaries have to match and Okafor is on a rookie-scale deal, one wonders how it can work if the 76ers aren't enamored with some of the Bulls' young players who've yet to fully blossom. The Bulls could conceivably open up talks to a third team if need be, considering it isn't likely they'd want to part with any future first-round picks as they're still deciding how they are to proceed with franchise direction in the next couple seasons.
Talks aren't necessarily heating up, but they aren't dead. It's interesting how they could see using Okafor as a low-post scorer while currently having Cristiano Felicio and Robin Lopez at center.
It could be hard to find a workable deal given what the Sixers want/need, although since they’re WAY under the cap there’s flexibility there in terms of what they can take back. It seems unlikely they’d want any of the Bulls’ younger frontcourt players given they’re trying to clear a logjam, and the thought of them taking Michael Carter-Williams back is just hilarious. And, no, I would not include Doug McDermott in a Jahlil Okafor trade. Maybe a way to dump Rajon Rondo? I doubt it.
The thing is, Okafor is pretty bad. He posted a shiny 17/7 last year as a rookie and has decent looking numbers this year (11/5 in 23 MPG) in more limited playing time, but don’t let that fool you. He’s arguably the worst defensive big man in the NBA (dead last in center RPM), and despite his offensive talent (which mostly just consists of an advanced post game and not much else) the Sixers’ offense has been significantly worse with him on the court in his first two seasons. He’s also not that good a rebounder despite his hulking size.
There’s a reason Sixers fans are dying to get rid of him:
Checks out in the trade machine. pic.twitter.com/hwbA93Svlx— shamus (@shamus_clancy) February 3, 2017
I don’t think the guy is a lost cause or anything because he IS talented and was just the No. 3 pick in 2015 as a teenager. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery and playing in his hometown could energize him. But the Bulls already have a few decent centers (they could try to trade RoLo), and Okafor wouldn’t exactly be helping any pace or space issues.
I guess maybe you could talk me into this if the Bulls gave up next to nothing and groomed him to be a good backup, but I want very little part of Okafor as a potential starting center of the future.