According to a tweet from USA Today Reporter Sam Amick, the 76ers and New Orleans are deep into discussions for a trade involving second year center and former No. 3 pick Jahlil Okafor.
Sixers & Pelicans in talks about sending Jahlil Okafor to New Orleans. Philly pushing for NO 1st rounder. Story coming at @USATODAYsports
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 6, 2017
There aren’t many other details that have been reported as of yet but it is intriguing if the Pelicans would be willing to trade their first round pick to the 76ers in order to acquire Okafor.
After a productive (though inefficient) rookie season in which he averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 30 minutes per game, Okafor has dealt with nagging injuries and has been affected by “The Process” Joel Embiid taking the NBA by storm and taking over the starting center position in the city of brotherly love.
Okafor is a talented back to the back post scorer and a sort of throwback in today’s NBA, but he hasn’t developed an ability to stretch the floor with his shooting or to be a high level passer from the post. He will more than likely never be a great rim protector with his average length and athleticism for an NBA big man.
The Pelicans have the worst and most offensively challenged rotation of centers in the NBA surrounding Anthony Davis in Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, and have long tried to decide the best kind of back court mate to fit alongside Anthony Davis.
Okafor presents an option as a highly capable scoring option and a big body who can prevent Anthony Davis from enduring some of the banging in the paint that is needed to play the center position even if it puts more pressure on Davis to protect the rim.
From the 76ers perspective, even though it doesn’t seem that way on the surface, being able to get a pick in the 5-14 range would be great value in a what figures to be a deep draft for a player that clearly doesn’t fit in with the roster of the future.
I think the 76ers would pull the trigger on this deal in a second, and it is an intriguing possibility for the Pelicans as well.