Jahlil Okafor on the Move? Three potential trades that make sense for the Sixers

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“The Process” has been a long, strenuous and sometimes weird road. This offseason might be the most important yet with the draft and the possible return of perhaps the Sixers’ most intriguing player, Joel Embiid. If the big man returns to the court and all reports say that he shall, the already crowded frontcourt is going to be joined by one more. If that is the case, one of the Sixers big men is going to be on the move, and all indications point to Jahlil Okafor.

The Duke product has had a rocky first rookie year. His Defense has been pretty awful to go along with some off the court issues, but his low post Offense has been impressive. The Sixers may not have necessarily soured on Okafor, but the pair of Noel and Embiid fit much better than Okafor and Embiid.

Let’s say that Sam Hinkie puts Okafor on the block…What would be an appropriate package look like in order for the Sixers to pull the trigger on a trade? With the help of ESPN’s Trade Machine, I have come up with some trades that might just happen this offseason.  Here are the possibilities:

76ers Receive G Terry Rozier, F Jordan Mickey, 2016 (from Nets) 1st Round Pick

Celtics Receive C Jahlil Okafor

Why the Sixers Would Do It:

The prize of this package is that Nets pick. This trade would most likely be contingent upon whether or not that pick is worth it after the lottery. If it is in the top 4 or 5, Hinkie might just make this deal. Is Okafor worth more than that pick? Maybe. Maybe Not. Nevertheless, he does not fit this team as it is currently constructed, and getting this type of value could be enough to move him. Plus, imagine a draft haul of Brandon Ingram/Ben Simmons and Buddy Hield or Jamal Murray, and who knows, if they do in fact get the Lakers’ Top 3 Protected, three picks in the top five of this year’s draft would be an unbelievable step forward in “The Process”. Rozier and Mickey are young pieces who might not even make this team next year, but they have some ability and they were needed to make the financials happen for the trade.

Why the Celtics Would Do It:

The Celtics were rumored to be interested in the Sixers’ Okafor before the trade deadline. Sure, giving up the highly coveted Nets’ pick might be tough to do, but Okafor would fit right in, projecting as a dominant offensive big man to compliment the up and coming Isaiah Thomas Jr.

Will It Happen?

This is probably the most likely scenario if the Sixers were to move Okafor. The Celtics are a team that is a few pieces away from seriously competing and Okafor is already good enough to give them a considerable boost in 2017. On the flip side, Hinkie loves himself some draft picks, and the possibility of having three top five picks has to be extremely enticing.

Odds: 50%

 

76ers Receive PG Eric Bledsoe, Suns 2016 2nd Round Pick

Suns Receive C Jahlil Okafor

Why the Sixers Would Do It:

The Sixers need a point guard. It is easily the most glaring need on the team. Ish Smith is just ok and if the Sixers have any aspirations to compete, acquiring a talented point guard like Bledsoe would be a great advancement. He would be coming off a torn meniscus and that might scare Hinkie, but if he is healthy, he could put up 20 points and 6 assists a game with ease. The 26 year old is also an experienced veteran who can step in and be the leader of the team. Because of his injury history, the 76ers might want some more for Okafor, so the Suns include their high second rounder.

Why the Suns Would Do It:

The Suns already have a talented young point guard in Brandon Knight, making Bledsoe expendable and acquiring a talent Jahlil Okafor could really help this team’s development. The Suns are just beginning their rebuild and are ready to take the “best player available” both in trades and in the upcoming draft. The young nucleus of Devin Booker, Okafor, Knight, and a top ten pick in this upcoming draft would be one that is on the fast track to contention.

Will It Happen?

It is rare to see two rebuilding teams make a blockbuster deal, but in this case, a trade might just work. Bledsoe is a very good guard and young enough to grow with the Sixers. Okafor could find himself at the center of the Suns and thrive without having to worry about a Nerlens Noel crowding him down low in the post. From both sides, this trade makes sense.

Odds: 30%

 

76ers Receive SG Bradley Beal

Wizards Receive C Jahlil Okafor

 Why the Sixers Would Do It:

 This trade is similar to the previous one, grabbing a young combo guard to grow with the big men. Beal however, is younger at just 22 and he would not man the point. Beal could step in and provide much needed scoring at the 2 guard. Once he steps out of John Wall’s shadow, may even play better. Like Bledsoe, he may not have the same potential as Okafor but the Sixers really need strong guard play, and Beal fit that bill.

There is one snag with this trade. The Wizards would probably have to sign and trade him as he is a restricted free agent this year. That really should not hurt the Sixers chances because they have so much cap space, but it would be an obstacle to the deal.

Why the Wizards Would Do It:

 The Wizards are in a tough spot. They have a superstar talent in John Wall, and some nice pieces around him in Beal and Otto Porter but they will not be actually contending anytime soon. Obviously this trade is assuming that Washington fails to steal Kevin Durant in free agency. After they lose out on Durant, they turn to their plan B, which is Okafor. Giving up a young, productive guard like Beal is tough, but they are getting a potentially dominant offensive big man who would work really well with Wall. With Beal gone, Wall can really spread his wings and grow to his high ceiling.

The Wizards need to start to build around Wall and Okafor would be a great first building block.

Will It Happen?

 Probably not. This offseason is too complex for the Wizards because of so many moving parts. They would first have to extend Beal, and they would have to lose out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, and then they could finally entertain a deal with the Sixers. On the other hand, the Sixers would love to get a guy like Beal in their organization. He could blossom into a 25+ PPG type shooting guard and that would go a long way in pushing the team towards contention.

Odds: 10%

 

BONUS TRADE:

 76ers Receive G Terry Rozier, F Jordan Mickey, 2016 Nets 1st (from Celtics), 2016 76ers 2nd (from Celtics)

Cavaliers Receive C Amir Johnson, SG Avery Bradley, 2016 Celtics 1st, 2017 Celtics 1st

Celtics Receive PF Kevin Love, C Jahlil Okafor

 After having some fun with ESPN’s Trade Machine, this trade was conceived. Yes, this trade is not going to happen, but it is not necessarily unfathomable. The Celtics supposedly like both Kevin Love and Okafor, but how could they get them both in one trade? This is how. The Sixers receive a similar package to the original trade, while additionally getting their 2016 second rounder back from the Celtics.

 The Cavs are not built correctly right now. They definitely should not rebuild but they can retool. This trade allows them to take a step back and review their options. Avery Bradley’s mix of solid offense and tremendous, lockdown defense is a perfect fit for the Cavs. Amir Johnson is a solid depth piece that could give rest to Tristan Thompson. Finally, a pair of first round picks should seal it for Cleveland.

The Celtics are getting two ultra-talented big men. They have to give up a lot but Okafor and Love should fit really nicely. Okafor is a low-post big man with more moves than Michael Jackson and Love can stretch the floor, give Okafor his space, and knock down the occasional three. Finally, they are giving up a lot of picks, but they actually still would have a 1st rounder this year courtesy of the Mavericks, so they would not be throwing away all of their assets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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