At this point, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Philadelphia 76ers will pull off a blockbuster trade before the 2016 NBA Draft later this month.
Previous reports had indicated that the team is looking to move either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel as a way to rid itself of the logjam it currently has in the low post.
While Noel remains a possibility right now, Keith Pompay of the Philadelphia Inquirer is suggesting that Philadelphia’s preference is to move Okafor.
“The Sixers are shopping Okafor and center Nerlens Noel to other NBA teams. The franchise is expected to trade the player who brings them a better deal,” the insider reported. “Sources have said that the team would prefer to trade Okafor. The Sixers expect to get equal value in return, but it could be hard to do that when every team knows they are looking to unload the big man.”
This isn’t mutually exclusive. Okafor will probably bring back a larger return in a potential trade. The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, the Duke product averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field as a rookie.
While Noel might be the better defender, his offensive game hasn’t taken on a new level since joining Philadelphia as a lottery pick back in 2014. He averaged 11.1 points and 8.1 rebounds this past season.
With the first overall pick in this month’s draft, Philadelphia will likely pick up former LSU forward Ben Simmons. The return of Joel Embiid from injury coupled with the likely emergence of Euro star Dario Saric complicates things a bit further (more on that here).
Needless to say, ridding themselves of this logjam while finding talent at both guard positions is what the Sixers need to focus on. If that means dealing Okafor, the team seems more than willing to bite the bullet there.