The Philadelphia 76ers have been looking to move to Jahlil Okafor with the emergence of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Okafor could be a fit with the Toronto Raptors; but at what cost in return?
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Joel Embiid is a budding superstar in the NBA when he is healthy enough to play and the 6-foot-10 Croatian Dario Saric has developed into a valuable asset for the Sixers after playing in 81 games last year while averaging 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Okafor has become expendable in Philadelphia and their head coach Brett Brown admitted this week that the team is exploring options in the trade market “to see what’s out there.”
With the Sixers loaded with big men, its safe to assume they are looking for some depth at the guard or small forward position behind their two recent No. 1 overall draft picks; Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons.
Recent first round pick OG Anunoby or perhaps Pascal Siakam could also be of interest to the young 76ers squad that is stockpiling high end young talent on their roster.
Okafor would an upgrade at centre over the Raptors incumbent Jonas Valanciunas. He is considerably more athletic than the Raptors big man and is a much better offensive threat than the stiff and lumbering Valanciunas.
Okafor had an outstanding rookie campaign with the Sixers after being drafted with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft out of Duke. He averaged 17.5 points per game and was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 2015-16. His numbers slipped last season after falling behind Embiid and Saric in the pecking order and he only averaged 11.8 points per game over 50 games for the Sixers.
The Raptors have been looking to move Valanciunas over the past year and would have to get a third team involved with the trade in order for this to come to fruition.
Okafor has made some immature decisions off the court having been involved in a street fight outside of a Philadelphia night club back in 2015 but so has Valanciunas who was charged with DUI in Wasaga Beach back in 2014. Okafor was never charged in the incident and Valanciunas had his charges dropped.
With the style of play in the NBA changing, the need for big men is in a dramatic decline. Okafor’s value in the trade market can’t be much more than a mid-level back up and a draft pick in return.
The Raptors are moving sideways by continuing to roll out a starting line up that includes Valanciunas who has shown that he will never be anything more than a 12 points per game guy.
We know exactly what Valanciunas is.
Okafor has a much higher ceiling who could eventually develop into something more and would add a little what if to the Raptors line up.
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