News regarding Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor has been trending upward the last week or so. The honor of being named to the USA Basketball Select Team was a nice reward for the young center, and an indication that his health is in good standing following knee surgery.
Buried within a report about his progress, however, is a tidbit about his availability on the trade market. According to The Inquirer's Keith Pompey, the Sixers are more inclined to trade Okafor than they are Nerlens Noel:
It's unclear if he'll be a Sixer next season. 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.
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.
While this coincides with other reports circulating about the team's preferences, it's a bit of a surprise given the public airing of the Jeff Teague-Noel trade talks in recent weeks. Okafor's value on the trade market is boosted by his entry-level salary and his encouraging production as a rookie, but his name has yet to surface in any real trade discussions to date. This news surfacing from one of the local beats rather than a national rumor trafficker also lends some credence to the idea.
If Pompey is to be taken at his word, that day may be forthcoming. The Sixers are putting out feelers anywhere and everywhere, hoping to find a good match for the young bigs they have stockpiled in Philadelphia. At this point, it seems inevitable that moves concerning their centers are looming on the horizon.