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February 03, 2017

2017 NBA Trade Deadline: Chicago reportedly ‘inquiring’ about Jahlil Okafor

In a city with a history of many dominant high school basketball stars, Jahlil Okafor’s résumé as a prep player in Chicago ranks way up there. And now according a report from CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill, Okafor’s hometown NBA team is showing some interest in him before the NBA trade deadline.

Yep, daaaaaaa Bulls:

So far, there's more interest on the Bulls' side than the 76ers' side, according to sources, but the Bulls are interested in Okafor's services. Because salaries have to match and Okafor is on a rookie-scale deal, one wonders how it can work if the 76ers aren't enamored with some of the Bulls' young players who've yet to fully blossom. The Bulls could conceivably open up talks to a third team if need be, considering it isn't likely they'd want to part with any future first-round picks as they're still deciding how they are to proceed with franchise direction in the next couple seasons.

Talks aren't necessarily heating up, but they aren't dead.

Up to this point, it has been Nerlens Noel who has been the highly-drafted Sixer center who mostly found his name in trade rumors. Despite all of Okafor’s distressing on-off and defensive numbers, he still is 6’11” with an impressive set of post moves at only 21 years old. As the old saying goes, “All it takes it one team.” 

Okafor has recently found himself getting DNP-CDs when both Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel are healthy. Brett Brown has been extremely complimentary about how the second-year big man has handled the situation, but it’s not a surprise to see his name is trade rumors.

As Goodwill mentioned in his report, the Sixers very likely would be more interested in draft picks than any of the Bulls young players that are available. As Okafor’s trade value very likely isn’t high, it’s hard to know which players on Chicago would be available to the Sixers in a potential deal. Doug McDermott? Nikola Mirotic?  Paul Zipser perhaps? Jerian Grant?

Two of the Bulls backup guards, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan, played for the Sixers in recent years. We’ll see if rumored interest around the league in Okafor helps the Sixers front office strike a trade.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann