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NBA Trade Rumors: Indiana Pacers pursuing Sixers center Jahlil Okafor in trade talks

A wild Jahlil Okafor suitor appears!

NBA: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Following the DeMarcus Cousins trade, it appeared the Sixers were running out of potential trade partners. But a new name has emerged in the Jahlil Okafor rumor mill, and they are known to be shopping a first round pick to get some help for their star player.

The latest comes courtesy of ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, who alongside Chris Haynes and Jeff Goodman relays interest from the Indiana Pacers in the Sixers’ backup center:

Indiana seems to be one of the more active teams right now as they try to get Paul George some help. One name Jeff Goodman, Chris Haynes and I have all heard they're pursuing: Jahlil Okafor.

This report follows information we learned over the last few days regarding the motivation for the Pacers, as well as what they’re willing to give up. Over the weekend, Haynes reported Indiana was willing to concede its first round pick this year in order to get help for George, who has an opt-out in his contract following the 2017-18 season.

Yesterday, the focus zeroed in on one player in particular:

Lopez and Okafor are semi-similar in that they share a few primary weaknesses in the defense and rebounding department, but Indiana’s attachment to several offense-first bigs is an encouraging sign for the Sixers even without reported interest in Okafor specifically. It’s unclear whether they’re willing to part with the available first in order to pursue Okafor — all indications seem to point toward a desire for more “instant help” — and that will be a key sticking point for a potential Sixers-Pacers swap.

Aside from the Pacers’ pick, which figures to land in the mid-teens of this year’s draft, the Sixers would likely be choosing from a mix of older guards in the return package. None of them are great options; bringing Monta Ellis to Philadelphia over a half decade after people pined for the Sixers to trade Andre Iguodala for him would be hysterical, but he’s less productive than he’s ever been and trending in the wrong direction.

I don’t really understand the fascination to exacerbate Myles Turner’s biggest weakness (rebounding) playing him alongside a center who isn’t a good rebounder, whether it’s Okafor or Lopez. But the emergence of another suitor is great news for the Sixers. Bryan Colangelo should not give Okafor away just for the sake of doing so, and every team that remains interested in his services helps maintain his value during a turbulent time for the young center.

Get it done.

The Sixers have trades to make. Who's likely to be out the door?

Posted by Liberty Ballers on Thursday, January 12, 2017