There’s a good possibility Jahlil Okafor gets traded in the near future, and even the Philadelphia 76ers are admitting it.
Sixers coach Brett Brown revealed he didn’t play Okafor in Saturday’s game against the Miami Heat because of trade rumors surrounding the big man.
“There were trade rumors that were happening before the game,” Brown told reporters after Philadelphia’s 117-109 win, via CSN Philly. “I was aware of those. In those situations, I felt that it was best to not complicate things and not play Jahlil. We talked about it together before the game and I explained to him that this was going to happen for this reason. That’s why I made the decision.”
That’s a pretty candid admission from Brown, but it’s not without merit. Trade talks surrounding Okafor “ramped up” significantly Saturday to the point where the team decided to hold him out, league sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein. The Sixers have been engaged in “serious” trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans all week but also have discussed an Okafor trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls, per Stein.
The Pelicans appear to be the top suitor for Okafor ahead of the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline, reportedly trying to acquire the 21-year-old in a deal that would involve their own big man, Omer Asik.
Either way, it looks like Okafor doesn’t fit into Philly’s long-term plans, as the team already has a franchise big man in Joel Embiid and will get more crowded in the frontcourt when No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons returns from injury.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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