Jahlil Okafor Reportedly a Trade Target for Indiana Pacers Before 2017 Deadline

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 2: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the Orlando Magic at Wells Fargo Center on December 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

With Thursday's NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Indiana Pacers are working hard to acquire Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported Tuesday.  

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 2016-17.

The 21-year-old would be an odd fit on Indiana. In addition to Myles Turner, the Pacers already have Al Jefferson, who is essentially an older version of Okafor.

Jefferson, like Okafor, is a solid rebounder and scorer, but he's a massive liability on the defensive end. Even if the Pacers moved Jefferson as part of the Okafor trade or in a subsequent move, the presence of Turner would seemingly negate the need for another young big man.

Turner had a solid rookie season and continues to improve this year. He's second on the team in scoring (15.6 points per game) and first in rebounds (7.2 per game) and blocks (2.1 per game).

Trading for Okafor would be even more ironic considering the circumstances of Frank Vogel's departure last offseason. The Indianapolis Star's Candace Buckner reported team president Larry Bird wanted the Pacers to play at a quicker tempo. 

Putting Okafor and Turner on the same team would be antithetical to a pace-and-space style of basketball.

Paul George's contract situation—he can opt out after 2017-18—incentivizes Indiana to be a buyer at the deadline. ESPN.com's Chris Haynes reported Saturday the Pacers are making their first-round pick available to the highest bidder to potentially strengthen the roster, thus enticing George to re-sign down the road.

It's understandable why the Pacers are weighing all of their trade options, but Okafor would do little to improve the team.

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