With the emergence of Joel Embiid as a superstar, the questions about what the Sixers should do about their roster full of high draft pick big men have resurfaced.
Most have assumed that at some point the Sixers would move one of their three big men in order to free up minutes in the rotation and also get help in the backcourt. It appears as though we have an answer about which of their trio of bigs (Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel) will be getting moved.
This is an intriguing move for both teams as it would free up the rotation in Philadelphia while getting another first round draft pick to look for more backcourt help (either by drafting one or packaging picks together for an established guard). It also seems to be a great situation for Okafor, who has fantastic offensive skills, but is lacking on the defensive end. Pairing his low-post scoring ability with Anthony Davis’ incredible all-around offensive skillset and, most importantly, Davis’ incredible ability as a help defender, would benefit Okafor greatly.
Ever since the Sixers drafted Noel, Okafor and Embiid, there have been questions about how the three could possibly fit together. With Ben Simmons entering the fold as a wing that isn’t a particularly adept shooter, spacing is limited and Okafor appears to be the odd man out in Philadelphia.
Update: More details have emerged and the basics of the reported deal being discussed are Okafor for a first and Alexis Ajinca, but there could be more added, including a desire from Philadelphia to bring Jrue Holiday back.
It’s interesting to see how valuable the Pelicans feel Okafor can be, if they are indeed willing to part ways with a first-round pick and Ajinca for just him. For the Sixers, if they do indeed push for Holiday back in an expanded deal, it would seem to signal that they feel like they’re in prime position, with Embiid and company developing as they have, to begin taking the next step in the process towards playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
If the discussions go beyond the framework of the current reports, look for the Pelicans to try and get the Sixers to take Omer Asik and his contract back, which is currently not on the table per Adrian Wojnarowski.