Jahlil Okafor Trade Rumors: Pelicans Reportedly in Talks for 76ers Center

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 20:  Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a foul shot against the New Orleans Pelicans at Wells Fargo Center on December 20, 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

The Philadelphia 76ers have a logjam at center with up-and-coming superstar Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes all on the roster. That has left Okafor as the subject of trade rumors.

And the 76ers are reportedly engaged in trade talks that would send Okafor to the New Orleans Pelicans, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Monday.

According to Keith Smith of RealGM, draft-pick compensation is currently delaying the proposed deal:

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Source: Pick protection is the hold up in Okafor trade to NO. NOP wants to lottery protect, while PHI wants to take it down to top 5-10.

According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Philadelphia could receive center Alexis Ajinca and a future first-round pick from New Orleans in exchange for Okafor.

Wojnarowski offered more details on the negotiations:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Sources: New Orleans has been trying to get a trade package that includes unloading Omer Asik contract. Philly deal wouldn't include him.

Smith added the Sixers may be interested in acquiring point guard Jrue Holiday and that the deal could be expanded, noting negotiations wouldn't be resolved Monday.

However, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt noted multiple teams are interested in Okafor and that the 76ers are "not rushing" into a trade at this point.

This is the second trade rumor regarding Okafor in the past week. Last Thursday, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com reported the Chicago Bulls were inquiring about the second-year center.

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Okafor, 21, has been buried on Philadelphia's bench this year behind Embiid and Noel. While Okafor generally starts when Embiid doesn't play—which has been a fair amount given that Embiid doesn't play back-to-backs and the Sixers have been overly cautious with him—he rarely sees the court when Embiid and Noel are both in action.

On the season, Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game.

So long as Embiid is upright, Okafor doesn't appear to fit long term within the 76ers system. He is best suited playing alongside perimeter defenders and three-point shooters who can limit penetration on defense and space the floor offensively, allowing him the space to work in the post. Okafor is also a below-average defender and rim protector, while both Embiid and Noel are strong defensive presences.

Since Okafor has struggled next to both Embiid and Noel over the past year and a half, the Sixers likely don't have him in their future plans.


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