NBA Rumors: Revisit 76ers Trade Okafor To Knicks

NBA Rumors for Philadelphia 76ers Trading Jahlil Okafor To NY Knicks makes more sense than ever

NBA Rumors have taken a back page for the time being with regards to recent news about the New York Knicks. Star point guard Derrick Rose has once more made the front pages in an unflattering light.  He went AWOL Monday night, simply not showing up to join is team in facing the New Orleans Pelicans.

That game did not end well for the Knicks, as they lost 110-96. In the game, Porzingis scored 9 points.  But Joakim Noah, the center free agent signed to a four-year $72 Million contract, did not help matters either. In that game, he pulled down 10 rebounds, but only scored four points.

Public sentiment has converted from the euphoria of expecting a deep playoff run by these Knicks, to now supporting plans for shooting guard Carmelo Anthony to look for an escape clause in his contract and sign up with a more competitive team.

To turn the tide of public opinion, Knicks front office guru Phil Jackson needs to do something positive.  For some time, Knicks fans and bloggers have been begging the team to make a deal for one of the Philadelphia 76ers before the 2017 trade deadline. In many cases, Knicks’ advocates have not given solid reasons for either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel.  We have even picked up on those NBA rumors as well. Let’s see if we can help out our good friends over at the Daily Knicks?

Jan 9, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) an forward Nerlens Noel (4) in a game against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. The Raptors won 108-95. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 9, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) an forward Nerlens Noel (4) in a game against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. The Raptors won 108-95. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Why This Deal Will Happen?

The Knicks have a window open this year, a window that closes at the end of this season. But the Knicks run the Triangle offense.  In that offense, only select players can thrive.  A center is a very specific need.  In a triangle offense, the Knicks need a center who can hold his position in the paint. That is nothing new. But that is something Jahlil Okafor can do.

“They need a center with a big butt to hold space. They didn’t have anybody like that. It takes away a major portion of what you can do with the triangle because then it really becomes just a perimeter offense.” – Charley Rosen, longtime Phil Jackson, as interviewed by the New York Post

And so, some basketball minds believe Okafor could be well suited for the Knicks.  But has anyone come right out and said as much?  Well yes. the Wall Street Journal identified Jahlil Okafor as the player the Knicks should seek.

Who Backs Up Embiid?

Right now, the Philadelphia 76ers have a clear future center in Joel Embiid.  The remainder of this season appears to be a rotation experimenting which player can play best off the bench, or line up next to him simultaneously.  So far, the verdict is that Jahlil Okafor may not be the best suited for playing alongside Embiid.

Or rather that Nerlens Noel is more compatible with Embiid.

Jan 3, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Oh Well, Noel

Still not convinced? Some believe the Knicks need that defensive punch of Nerlens Noel. In fact, you can place Maxwell Ogden of the Daily Knicks in that camp. While Ogden is skeptical of combining the two light front court play of Kristaps Porzingis and Nerlens Noel, he calls upon Noel’s strong defensive stats.

It’s the fact that Noel has been unhappy with his situation in Philadelphia, is in the last year of his contract, and has not been retained by the Philadelphia 76ers so far that places him in the “we can get him” mindset.

Noel Is clearly the stronger and more versatile player of the two.  And if the Knicks wanted a player to compliment Joakim Noah rather than replace him, Noel is more suited for that role.

Dec 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Knicks 113-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 13, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) and forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Knicks 113-111 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Why This Deal Won’t Happen

The Knicks have committed four years and $72 Million to center free agent signing Joakim Noah. It’s unlikely the team will pull the plug on Noah less than half-way through his first season with the team.

Beyond that, the urgency of getting a deal done this year assumes that the Knicks won’t make the playoffs unless the trade for a 76ers center, that the Knicks need to make the playoffs in order to retain Derrick Rose, and that the Knicks want to re-sign Rose.

Just looking at that set of assumptions, I see Swiss cheese logic.

But more than that. The Knicks have shown little interest in loading this team with young talent. With the exception of Porzingis, and his former teammate Willy Hernangomez, the team seems to be more comfortable with senior NBA veterans.

But that dependence on veterans has not improved leadership, discipline, nor wins so far.  And it may be that the unmet expectations of this year’s outcome that will force the team to attempt a reclamation of their playoff hopes at this year’s trade deadline.

Jun 24, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo during an introduction press conference at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 24, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo during an introduction press conference at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What Would It Take To Make This Deal Happen?

In order for this deal to happen, the Philadelphia 76ers may need to be flexible as to which center is included. If the Knicks want a rim-protecting center, then the obvious choice is Nerlens Noel. If the Knicks want a big bodied center who can hold his own in the paint, then the obvious choice is Jahlil Okafor.

But Noel is on the last year of his contract. Okafor is available through 2019.  And so, each player will require a different trade package altogether.

For Noel, the price would be less, simply because there would be fewer moving pieces.  In this scenario, the 76ers would trade Noel to the Knicks.  In return, the Philadelphia 76ers would likely seek compensation in the form of draft picks

76es get 2017-2019 NBA 1st rd pick (top 5 protected). 2017 2nd rd pick (via Chicago)

Knicks get C Nerlen Noel

However, if the Knicks prefer Jahlil Okafor, that changes the dynamics of the deal entirely. That would force the 76ers to assume the very unenviable contract of Joakim Noah, and that salary dump is a first round pick value. Let’s see how that looks:

76ers get C Joakim Noah, 2017 1st rd pick, 2018 1st rd swap, 2019 1st rd pick (top 5 protected

Knicks get C Jahlil Okafor

While this deal looks rather one-sided, keep in mind that Noah’s contract is a 72,590,000 deal that lasts until 2020. Dumping that much salary will cost the 2017 first round pick.

In the end, if the Knicks want to get into the playoffs, they only have a limited time to change that roster. If they are motivated to do so, they know that the 76ers will take their call.

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