Trade rumors surrounding Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor were flying last weekend. It was reported that the second year player was benched for last Saturday’s game because of a potential trade. At the time, it seemed that the New Orleans Pelicans were the most likely destination for Okafor, but the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers were also listed as teams potentially in the mix.
Earlier today, David Aldridge of TNT reported that the Trail Blazers were, in fact, the primary team involved in last weekend’s rumors:
The 76ers pulled Jahlil Okafor from their lineup last week b/c a deal w/Portland for the center was close to happening, per league sources.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 18, 2017
The Blazers, however, decided instead to do a trade w/Denver for Jusuf Nurkic & a 2017 first-round pick, giving Portland three 2017 firsts.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 18, 2017
It’s not exactly clear what a potential Okafor deal would have involved, but reading between the lines it seems that gaining Denver’s first-round pick tipped the scales in favor of the Jufuf Nurkic trade.
Aldridge’s report comes on the heels of The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor’s assertion that Portland was never involved in the Okafor discussions. According to O’Connor, sources speculated that “the shelving of Okafor was likely meant to flush out the best offers around the league.” Perhaps Neil Olshey used it to get a better deal from Denver instead.
Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, is a year younger than Nurkic, and has a more refined offensive game. Nurkic is bigger and a better rebounder and defender. The Bosnian Beast has a slightly better contract (not to mention a better nickname). Okafor is set to make close to $5 million next seasons while Nurkic will get just under $3 million.
What do you think? Would you have rather had the Blazers get Okafor or are you happy with how the Nurkic trade played out?
Trade deadline on the horizon? Here are some options worth noting.Posted by Blazer's Edge on Thursday, January 12, 2017