February 06, 2017
With the 2017 NBA trade deadline only a couple of weeks away, the Sixers frontcourt logjam is going to be one of the biggest stories around the league. Who stays and who goes behind Joel Embiid?
Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's NBA Draft who has recently found himself completely out of the rotation when everybody is healthy, was the subject of a rumor last week in which he was linked with his hometown Chicago Bulls.
And this week, thanks to a report by USA Today's Sam Amick, another potential Okafor trade destination has emerged: According to Amick, the Sixers front office is pushing for a first-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for the center:
Sixers & Pelicans in talks about sending Jahlil Okafor to New Orleans. Philly pushing for NO 1st rounder. Story coming at @USATODAYsports— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 6, 2017
If the rumored trade does go in fact through, it will be interesting to see what type of first-round pick the Sixers can get from the Pelicans. New Orleans currently has the league's fifth-worst record, only one half-game ahead of the Sixers. With Okafor's trade value seemingly at an all-time low, it felt highly unlikely right away that the Sixers could obtain an unprotected first-round pick from New Orleans in a deal centered around the 21-year-old big man.
And according to ESPN/The Undefeated's Marc Spears, the Sixers could be trading Okafor for big man Alexis Ajinca and a protected first-round pick:
Sixers could be getting back unhappy center Alexis Ajinca and a future 1st round pick in a Jahlil Okafor trade to New Orleans, a source said— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) February 6, 2017
Amick, whose initial report has been backed up by multiple credible newsbreakers, is also indicating that the first-round pick's protection could be the sticking point.
For New Orleans, the idea would seem to be pairing up Okafor and all-star power forward Anthony Davis in the frontcourt. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans are trying to dump Omer Asik's contract in a potential trade. By comparison, Ajinca's deal, which is about half as much money per season in addition to one year shorter, is much more palatable for a team like the Sixers:
Sources: New Orleans has been trying to get a trade package that includes unloading Omer Asik contract. Philly deal wouldn't include him.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 6, 2017
New Orleans has been engaged on several fronts to land a center, including pursuit of Brooklyn's Brook Lopez, sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 6, 2017
We'll have more on this trade if any additional news comes in.