Sixers Sit Jahlil Okafor Amid Possible Trade, Linked To Trail Blazers
The Philadelphia 76ers are closing in on a trade that would see Jahlil Okafor sent out of Philadelphia. For most of the season it was Nerlens Noel who was linked to numerous trade rumors and reports but recently that talk has shifted.
It is believed that the Sixers prefer to keep Noel and prefer instead to trade Okafor away.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Jahlil Okafor was benched during the 76ers recent victory over the Miami Heat because a trade is potentially in the works. 76ers head coach Brett Brown said that Okafor was held out of the game because of a potential trade.
“As the All-Star break gets closer, possible deals have more of a chance,” Brown said. “Although speculation is rampant all throughout stuff, you learn as the deadline gets closer, the reality that something could happen goes to a higher level.”
Brown said that Okafor handled the decision well.
“You feel conflicted, tremendously conflicted because you’ve spent a lot of time with these guys and they’re very young,” Brown said per CSNPhilly.com. “I hope that when they seek guidance, I give them good advice. Trying to coach them and educate them and make them aware that this will always be a part of your NBA life and it’s at many times no reflection of the individual. It’s part of just the normal drumbeat of an NBA season and you’re not going to find many people that stay with one team their whole career.
“To find ways to say that, do that and know at some point somebody could come in and say he’s not a part of your team anymore, there’s a human side to all of that. I have an affection for Jahlil Okafor. I have a far greater respect for him than I had at the start of the year and it was high. I just see a human being in there that handles it with all class.”
Okafor has been linked to the Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trail Blazers, who may have to include another team to help the financials work in a trade deal. Portland could offer a somewhat appealing package centered around Meyers Leonard, but that is purely speculative and it’s unclear if Philadelphia or Portland would be interested in that exchange.
Portland completed a trade with Denver which saw Mason Plumlee go to the Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round draft pick but also sends Denver a second-rounder and cash. The deal was reported initially by ‘The Vertical’.
This could be a the first step in Portland putting together an offer for Philly as they now have three 1st round draft picks(Portland, Cleveland and Memphis) to work with.