Trade value is an abstract concept at best because the assumed value is entirely theoretical. A player's worth is only truly determined by what you actually receive back in a trade, otherwise you're just making assumptions and playing a guessing game. This is an important thing to note as Sixers trade rumors heat up in the week leading into the draft.
Even with that disclaimer, Chad Ford's description of Jahlil Okafor's trade value has to be a little disheartening for Sixers fans to hear. Ford hopped on with 97.5 The Fanatic's Joe DeCamara this afternoon, and for those hoping to get the Celtics No. 3 pick and more for the young center, you might have to reevaluate:
I think that the Sixers and I both believed that the most valuable asset they had other than the No. 1 pick was [Jahlil] Okafor. I think that now, several weeks of gauging that interest around the league has led them to the conclusion that he might not be as valuable as they once thought. I think they went into the process asking the question, 'Would we trade for the No. 3 pick, or the No. 4 pick or the No. 5 pick for a guy like Okafor, would that be good value for us?' And I think they've walked out of that scenario saying, 'We don't think we can actually get that for Okafor right now.'
I think that's less an indictment on Okafor than it is a realization that center has become a little bit like a running back in the NFL... Especially the sort of player Okafor is, which is a back to the basket, below the rim, not particularly athletic, not going to stretch the floor, doesn't necessarily play defense big man. That just doesn't fit the schemes that most NBA coaches are after, including I think the 76ers. So I think there was a major miscalculation on the part of Sam Hinkie when he selected him at [three].
[Nerlens] Noel might actually end up having more trade value because he does some things in the modern NBA, his ability to defend multiple positions, his shot-blocking, his ability to finish on the break, that make him perhaps a more attractive option right now. They're exploring that as well, but it's not easy to necessarily move either of those guys right now and get the sort of value that Philadelphia wants, which I think what they want is a top five or six pick in this draft, or a young point guard, or a young two guard that can really shoot the basketball to pair on the floor with Ben Simmons.
Regardless of where you stand in the Okafor vs. Noel battle royale, this isn't exactly encouraging news. Everything should be taken with a grain of salt this close to draft time -- and rival executives with an interest in scooping up one of the Sixers bigs could have Ford's ear -- but if true, this will likely kill any dreams of trading back into this draft. I would probably make a deal for the third pick on its own because of how detrimental I think the logjam in the paint is, but not being able to get even a top-five pick ends the conversation before it begins for me.
You'll likely hear plenty more speculation before next Thursday, so be prepared.