Jahlil Okafor has become somewhat of a forgotten man in Philadelphia. Actually, he’s more of an intentionally neglected afterthought at this point. The former Duke star has logged in a measly 25 minutes in 14 games this season. Okafor has clearly fallen out of favor in the eyes of HC Brett Brown and the emergence of Ben Simmons clearly hasn’t helped his chances of seeing the floor. At this point the only logical thing to do is try to trade Okafor while he still has a shred of the value that made him a Top 5 selection in 2015. The list has narrowed severely since the beginning of last season, but here are three ideal trading partners for the Sixers and Jahlil Okafor:
Although trading within the division is certainly not ideal, the Celtics have been the team most interested in acquiring Jah and have the trade ammunition to pull it off. I don’t see a player of equal value for Okafor the Sixers could recoup from Boston that they are willing to deal, so in this case I’d be gunning for a lotto pick. The Celtics possess nine first rounders over the next three years and any of those selections would be fair compensation for a player that hardly ever touches the floor.
The Chicago Bulls are in year one of their rebuild and could use all the young talent they can find. Okafor, 21, certainly fits the bill of a young player who could grow with the franchise. The Bulls’ interest in the Chicago native dates back to last season, and they could be more aggressive in acquiring Okafor now that his value has dipped a bit. I think a Jahlil Okafor-Nikola Mirotic swap works for both sides. Chicago gets a young player who could thrive in a change of scenery and Philly acquires a stretch four that could be a spark plug off the bench.
The Suns are another franchise in the midst of a rebuild with reported interest in Okafor. Pairing Okafor with their young core has to be an enticing scenario for the Phoenix front office, and one they’d be wise to make if they want to persuade star shooting guard Devin Booker to commit to them long-term. A Jahlil Okafor-Tyson Chandler swap would be a sneaky good move for both teams. Chandler, although still highly productive, is 35 years old and won’t be around when Phoenix is ready to contend. Replacing Chandler with a young, talented player in Okafor almost makes too much sense for the rebuilding franchise. As for the Sixers, adding a veteran defensive stud like Chandler would help the team immensely. His leadership and work ethic would help the younger players stay grounded and focused off the court, and he would make sure guys aren’t losing their assignments on defense. This would be a huge win-win situation if the teams can come to an agreement.
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