The most interesting part of the inside bas(k)e(t)ball version of the our SB Nation Fantasy Mock Draft is not the end result. It's (ahem) The Process. In this case, we're talking about the process of trying to trade Jahlil Okafor.
If you read the draft pick thread, you'll notice that we made all our selections in order. The quality of trades available just wasn't there for me to make a deal. You'll see it all, below. Italics below are added for context.
(setting: in the middle of a heated debate about Isaia Cordinier)
Brandon Lee Gowton: Why haven't we traded Jah yet?
Sean O'Connor: I just asked Boston about Jah. Trying to spark interest, I also mentioned Noel if they're interested in making a trade. I'd do a Noel/Bradley swap if they're open to it. What are you all thinking?
Marc Whittington: NEVER TRADE NOEL, SEAN, HE'S MY LIFEBLOOD.
O'Connor: (clearly ignoring Marc, because I had that power) They don't want Jah, they do want to talk about Noel though. So, what do you guys think of Avery Bradley? Or (gulp) Marcus Smart?
Whittington: What are we getting? Just Bradley for Noel? Hell no. Bradley plus 3? Maybe. Just trade Jah somewhere else and hold onto Noel, though.
O'Connor: I can't believe you maybe-d a Bradley and 3 deal? I would take it and run.
Jake Fischer: I have absolutely zero interest in trading Noel. To me, the Sixers' situation is not "You need to trade one of Jah/Noel" to clear minutes. It's "you need to trade Jah and Jah only."
Whittington: EVERYONE KNOWS NOEL IS REALLY GOOD AT BASKETBALL, RIGHT?!?
O'Connor: You can't be like "Okafor is bad" and then demand the the sun and the moon for him, you know? Especially since no one seems to be interested. I'm still #TeamJah as a concept though I hate his fit with Simmons.
Fischer: I think if Nerlens was healthy after his freshman season of Kentucky and in this draft, he would probably be universally considered the No. 2 prospect behind Simmons, no? And that doesn't even factor in how well he's done defensively in two seasons. HE'S STILL ONLY 22! And that's a young 22, man!
I was actually texting Max about this the other day. I think it is so necessary to trade Jah, that I would really lower my expectations for his haul. You only have 96 minutes a night to get on-court, in-game development for your young bigs and that's just not going to work with Simmons, Embiid, Noel, Saric, Jerami Grant and even Richaun while Okafor is going to want at least 25 minutes throwing the ball into him in the post ever possession.
Him being on the team and eating minutes from those guys would be so detrimental to their development that I would be willing to deal him to Chicago for, like, No. 14 and McDermott. That's how much I think keeping Jah will plague the other bigs.
O'Connor: (again, just progressing despite the conversation): They are willing to do Bradley straight up for Noel also. But not a chance on Bradley and 3.
(so that trade discussion went nowhere after Boston declined to discuss Okafor)
O"Connor: Would you trade Okafor for the sixth pick? I know the people behind TBW are into wild trade scenarios, though personally in this draft I'm not sure I want to make that switch.
BTW - I'm not doing anything until I get more representation on the thread.
Gowton: I'd trade Jah for 6. I'd push for a second rounder too.
Fischer: I'd absolutely flip Okafor for the 6th pick with no hesitation. If you can turn Okafor into Jamal Murray, that's near the perfect scenario.
Whittington: My preference is with PHX or DEN so we can get an early teens pick as well, but 6 + some value would work for me, too. Actually, an Okafor/Davis front court could be pretty awesome.
O'Connor: Yeah I'm thinking the same. I sent their manager an email. Sold it as Okafor is a much better player and we'd need more than six to make a move, and we'd only do it if our targets were available.
(at this point, we picked Ben Simmons)
Shamus Clancy: I would do Jah for #6 plus one of their 2nds (#39 and #40). DX has Isaia Cordinier and Patrick McCaw, respectively, going at those spots, two guys we all pretty much seem to like. Their roster doesn't really have anyone else that fits.
Wesley Share: Okafor for 6 kind of sucks since we're missing out on even the second tier of talent in this draft. I think a lower lotto pick is fine for Noel but we shouldn't settle with Okafor just yet. Unless you can get a future first coming back what's the harm in holding off?
Share: Would you guys do Jah for like Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier, 16 and BKN swap rights for next year? Would probably do that even if it makes me itchy and I think if they could get Jah for anything other than 3 they'll do it running away. I hate myself for this buuuuuuuut if we can't get a high lotto pick back for Jah, I'll settle for great odds at winning the lotto again in what should be an awesome class.
Derek Bodner: I would take Avery Bradley over 6 in this draft pretty easily. The other stuff is just bonus.
Jake Hyman: Brooklyn pick next year could be Celtics' most valuable asset if they don't do anything in FA.
Michael Levin: I would do Jah for 6 and also that Boston trade Wes just suggested.
Also: reminder to everybody that the SBN mock does NOT include making picks in the second round, which I've railed against for half a decade. So we could get 39 but who we'd take would be entirely theoretical.
Share: My "ten minutes of thinking post-email goggles" tell me I greatly undersold how good of a trade that would be for the Sixers.
Whittington: Yeah, there's no way Boston would ever do that. Future swap rights plus anything substantive for Jah would be a major win.
Max Rappaport: Yeah, I agree with pretty much everyone else. Gotta move Jah, not Noel, and I'd do #6 if Dunn, Murray, or Bender is there. If they're not there, try to get Jrue and 6 and maybe give them a late first to even it out.
Share: Yeah it'd have to be Bradley plus just one of those future considerations probably. Bleh. Boston walking away with Bender/Chriss + Okafor without paying a decent price would kind of suck.
O'Connor: Got shut down by the Pelicans. They're not looking to move the pick.
Jake Pavorsky: Would definitely see if Phoenix wants to get involved. If you can land some variation pick 4, pick 13, Brandon Knight or T.J. Warren I'm a happy camper. Assuming Booker is super off limits there.
O'Connor: We've already talked. They're not interested, they don't want to move for Okafor at all.
Matt Carey: I, for one, am shocked that a group of basketball bloggers isn't jumping at a Jahlil Okafor trade.
Michael Baumann: I'd move Okafor for just the second-rounder.
Fischer: Would anyone be interested in Okafor and the Lakers pick for Jimmy Butler?
Share: Would tattoo Jimmy Butler's face on my chest for that deal but there's no shot in hell. Would take significantly more for sure.
O'Connor: Unrelated to anything we discussed: I just got offered Favors and Hayward from Utah for Simmons. I'm saying no and maybe burying Amar (who runs SLC Dunk, our Jazz blog).
Whittington: Hey, at least they know when to go all-in.
Fischer: I would honestly trade Okafor, Lakers pick, Covington and Stauskas for Butler. You can find some nice 3-and-D guys (hopefully) at 24 and 26. I don think Bembry or Taurean Prince will be available in the real draft, but maybe here.
Share: Would do that without thinking twice obviously. Think it'd take addition of 2019 Kings pick, Sixers first next year or Kings swap rights, etc. Boston will outbid Jah+LA pick with Crowder, unprotected Brooklyn pick/swap, Bradley, so on. Would need to add another top-end asset into the fold. Would be interested to see what the Bulls blog asks for though, if interested at all (probably not).
O'Connor: Ricky O'Donnell (former two-time (two-time!) RTRS podcast guest) is running Chicago's draft. He might disown our site if we propose that deal. Also it doesn't involve any current year picks so not sending it for now.
Kyle Neubeck: So this just happened in the thread:
Non-guaranteed Jonas Jerebko
Rappaport: Only fans in the world who love white people more than Philly fans are Boston fans.
Fischer: That's a pretty solid trade for both sides. Utah has to be targeting Kris Dunn right?
Whittington: Think it's pretty much just spinning wheels in place for both teams. Boston still can't get past Cleveland, Utah still has no creation.
Neubeck: I know Hayward is an upgrade on the wing, but the strength of their team is already their guards + wings, so I don't know how much further this propels them.
Whittington: Right, exactly. Meanwhile, if Utah wants Bender, they're looking at the same issues as Boston. If they want Dunn, well, they really haven't solved their primary initiator problem, and may have made it worse by giving up Hayward.
O'Connor: That trade makes a lot more sense if you replace Hayward with Favors.
Fischer: If you believe Dunn can be an All-Star in this league and you think moving Hayward is fine because it opens room for Rodney Hood to continue blossoming and Alec Burks' contract will be great under the new cap, it's a solid move for Utah. Boston fans are convinced they'll be able to sign Al Horford pretty easily this summer, too. That probably factors into the blogs' thinking
Carey: Interesting move to trade for Hayward in a contract year. I like Hayward a lot, but he's another one of those guys I'm not wild about paying 30 million next year. Risky move, but could work out for them.
If Utah's going for a point guard, does anybody have any interest in making a move for Exum?
Neubeck: Feel like we still know so little about Exum at this point. Building an all-Aussie would be fun, though.
Baumann: I'd trade Okafor for Exum. Imagine what Kyle's All-Aussie team would do to Brett Brown's accent.
Carey: Fake trade proposal: Sixers/Utah/Bulls: Okafor to CHI, Exum/14 to Philadelphia, McBuckets/Snell to Utah.
Whittington: That's a zero return for Utah. No way.
Baumann: I'd trade Okafor for Snell and McBuckets.
O'Connor: The trade got announced but Utah hasn't picked. I think Amar is trying to make another trade but the best guess is that Dunn or Murray is coming off board. Also I emailed Minnesota about number five. That's the only pick from 3-6 I haven't asked about, and I don't think they're attached to the pick based off them literally saying they were open to discussion.
O'Connor: Minnesota is only interested in Noel, also, but they think we would give up Covington/24 on top of it for Shabazz. Just... no.
That Celtics/Jazz deal now includes the Suns, which landed number 3 and took Bender.
Carey: You should have countered with Wiggins and 5 for Richaun Holmes, since we're throwing around horrible trade offers.
(ed note: Carey did the whole terrible trade idea first with that Exum deal)
O'Connor: Murray went 4. Leaving Minnesota out there to hang. Might have to get creative.
Whittington: What about dem Nuggets? Love any 7 & 15 possibilities...
O'Connor: They have Jokic and Nurkic, who are both right now better than Okafor. I'm thinking about sitting out for now and playing a hand later when we go to pick again.
Whittington: Oh yeah. That's why all my Nuggets fantasies have involved a third team stupid me.
O'Connor: Nuggets traded 7+15 for 5 and took Buddy Hield because (shrug). Pelicans took Dunn at six because BPA, I guess. So Minnesota has 7 and is looking to trade again, I think, but they still don't want Okafor.
Levin: SEAN GO GET ME THAT PICK FOR BALDWIN OR LUWAWU
Fischer: I wouldn't mind the Lakers pick for Baldwin one bit.
O'Connor: If I could swing Noel-24/26 for Oladipo-11 how do we feel about that? Nobody wants Okafor. I'm trying everything. (I proposed the same deal for Okafor, they asked for Noel in his place.)
Levin: In real life I'd probably say no, but here I need to stay on brand, so yes. Do it. And take Baldwin or Luwawu at 11.
Share: I'd probably do that, yeah. Who's picking now and who's left on the board?
O'Connor: Minnesota is picking now. Or trading. They're working it out. Haven't talked to them since they said no interest in Okafor. Only players off the board are Simmons, Ingram, Bender, Murray, Hield, and Dunn. Sacramento is trying to move 8 for vets as well, that I know.
Fischer: I'm not trading Noel just for the sake of making a trade, man. (I'm taking this too seriously)
O'Connor: There's some serious rose-colored glasses going on here.
Baumann: Off-topic, but it's over, friends.
Levin: BOW TO ME AND MY BURRITO ROLLING ABILITY
Neubeck: America wants Donald Trump as a presidential nominee, why am I supposed to care about its opinion?
Roy Burton: A listeria-filled burrito bowl from Chipotle >>>>> anything from Moe's.
(ed note: This was Roy's only contribution to the draft thread. Bravo, Roy.)
O'Connor: This burrito conversation is going into the draft thread. The people need to know. Also Minnesota took Denzel Valentine 7th.
Fischer: They must like Ricky Rubio more than Thibs does.
Share: Late on this but y'all seriously need to have a stack.
O'Connor: Jaylen Brown went at #8, to Phoenix, after a three-way deal with Sacramento and Orlando, so the Oladipo/Noel thing is off the table.
O'Connor: The last three picks all just happened: 9. Chriss to Toronto 10. Davis to Milwaukee 11. Luwawu to Sacramento (sorry Mike).
Levin: Sean's dead to me.
Share: Any teams in late lotto/mid-first looking to trade back? Not a Baldwin Guy per se, but he'd raise hell as an off-guard with Simmons and sure beats the hell out of like, Malik Beasley. Would move up if Bembry/Prince/Korkmaz are still there too.
Fischer: OKAFOR TO CHICAGO
Gowton: Fuck I thought this really happened and I was so excited to check Twitter.
O'Connor: I've reached out to Ricky to see what he thinks about it. Stop yelling at me Fischer!
O'Connor: Ricky offered McDermott, 14, and the Kings first round pick next year (protected top 10, becomes a second rounder) for Noel. Did not make an offer for Okafor. This was after asking for Noel straight up for 14 and telling him no outright. Jakob Poeltl went 12th to Utah.
Share: That's still basically Noel for 14 straight-up.
Fischer: Counter with Okafor. Please for the love of God.
O'Connor: I did. And got shut down. We're likely not trading Okafor you guys. I'm not taking anything less and I think that's a ridiculously low offer.
Share: Wait, they said no for 14, McDermott and that Kings pick that's going to be a second anyway?
O'Connor: Yes, they said no. Ricky said he'd do it but his crew wouldn't. Meanwhile I wouldn't do it but you guys would. So it wasn't meant to be.
Share: I wouldn't do that if I were the Sixers either? That's fucking nuts, and I don't like Okafor.
Carey: You guys hate Okafor, why are you surprised that people aren't jumping to trade for him? Trading Okafor for literally anything is shortsighted. I want to trade him because I don't think his value is going to be higher going forward, but if it's not that high now, then fine, hold onto him, try and find a way to stagger the minutes to make some rotations work, and try your luck at a time when he's less polarizing, like the deadline.
Neubeck: That return for Okafor OR Noel is a dumpster fire and I want no part of it.
So, there you have it. We could not find a single taker for Jahlil. I shutter to think what Colangelo might be willing to do for the sake of fit if these are the types of deals available on draft night.