Jahlil Okafor Trade Rumors: Bulls Reportedly Continue Push for 76ers Center

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 8: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on against the San Antonio Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center on February 8, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Spurs defeated the 76ers 111-103. 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. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls currently sit in the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference and are reportedly looking to bolster their frontcourt heading into the stretch run.

On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported the Bulls are still looking to acquire big man Jahlil Okafor in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The rebuilding 76ers have a frontcourt logjam, and Okafor's playing time has been slashed from 30 minutes a night in his rookie campaign to 23 minutes a night this season. Philadelphia has Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel as potential building blocks down low, and even Ben Simmons checks in at 6'10”, although he will be versatile enough to play outside at times when he returns from injury.

Young talent abounds for the 76ers, but there isn't much room for Okafor in the future plans, even if he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

The Duke product has not lived up to the expectations that come with such a draft status, although Chicago likely hopes a change of scenery could prove beneficial. Okafor's value over replacement player (VORP) was minus-0.8 last season and is minus-0.2 this season, per Basketball Reference, and he is averaging just 4.8 rebounds per game this season despite his 6'11" height.

Even with the shortcomings, he could help Chicago on the offensive side seeing how he posted 17.5 points per game last season behind 50.8 percent shooting from the field and is shooting 51.1 percent in 2016-17.

The Bulls are just 18th in the league in offensive rating (104.4), per NBA.com, and perimeter options Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade are the only players averaging more than 12 points a night.

Chicago could also provide defensive frontcourt support for Okafor considering opponents are shooting 8.5 percent worse than their normal averages within six feet when Taj Gibson defends them, per NBA.com. What's more, Butler is a three-time member of an NBA All-Defensive team and ideally wouldn't let perimeter guys consistently put pressure on Okafor in the paint.

While Okafor is yet to deliver on expectations, he is just 21 years old and offers upside the Bulls could look to tap into heading into the playoffs if they make the trade.

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