The potential suitors for Jahlil Okafor took a swan dive late Sunday evening when the New Orleans Pelicans traded for superstar center DeMarcus Cousins.
As Kyle Neubeck wrote Monday morning, the longterm ramifications of the Sacramento Kings deciding to rebuild benefits the Sixers much more than an Okafor trade would have, but the team still has a 6-foot-11, 275 lbs. elephant in the room.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne reported after the Cousins deal went down that Philadelphia and New Orleans were close on an Okafor deal, but couldn’t agree on pick protections. That news came two days after TNT’s David Aldridge reported the Sixers removed Okafor from the lineup last week because they were close to a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, who opted to make a move for Jusuf Nurkic instead.
As potential suitors for Okafor continue to dwindle, ESPN’s Marc Stein said one team that’s maintaining some level of interest are the Boston Celtics. From his appearance on Mike & Mike this morning:
Well Portland decided to do a different deal to get Jusuf Nurkic…Denver and Portland did that trade. So Okafor is kind of still there. I mean he’s been so out there you tend to think that Philadelphia will find something in the next three days where they move him. I’ve heard that Boston has still give that some consideration. Chicago is another team that’s said to have shown some Okafor interest. You can rest assured Philly’s gonna spend the next three-plus days trying to find a trade home for Jahlil Okafor. Once the prospect of a trade has gone that far, it’s hard to pretend that didn’t happen, but at this point as we stand Philadelphia doesn’t have an Okafor deal and obviously another team that looked at him seriously — New Orleans — that’s not an option.
If you’ll recall, there was a ton of trade speculation surrounding the Celtics and Okafor last summer, but nothing ever came to fruition. A potential revisitation of that deal doesn’t seem to make sense from Boston’s perspective. They’re currently 18th in the NBA in defensive rating, and have the league’s worst rebounding percentage. Okafor’s certainly not going to help them improve in that regard. Their attention also seems to be focused on executing a deal for Jimmy Butler, which according to Stein is still unlikely.
Okafor does present an interesting fallback option if Ainge does feel pressed to get a deal done. Kelly Olynyk and Amir Johnson are set to become free agents this summer, while Okafor could be under team control for two more seasons, making him enticing in that regard. Boston has a slew of first-round picks over the next few years, but none are all that enticing (outside of the off-limits Brooklyn Nets pick).
It’s hard to see the Celtics being willing to offer much more than Terry Rozier, James Young, and a future first-round pick for Okafor, and that’s just as bad (if not worse) than the supposed revised offer from the Pelicans.
The Sixers have trades to make. Who's likely to be out the door?Posted by Liberty Ballers on Thursday, January 12, 2017