This is the first time the Pacers have been linked to Okafor since trade rumors started swirling around the second-year big man. Previously, the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls were rumored to be discussing deals for Okafor. Those talks have seemingly cooled off with the Pelicans’ acquisition of DeMarcus Cousins and the Bulls reportedly engaging in talks to deal superstar Jimmy Butler.
The Pacers are likely dangling their 2017 first round draft pick to acquire more offensive talent to support Paul George.
The Sixers would likely need to take on some salary from the Pacers in a deal, and I don’t think it necessarily has to come in the form of expiring contracts for the Sixers to be enticed.
Using ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, here’s what a Sixer-Pacers trade might look like at the deadline:
Pacers get C – Jahlil Okafor 2019 2nd round pick
76ers get SF – Thaddeus Young 2017 1st round pick
Imagine the reaction of Sixers Twitter if Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers brought back Thaddeus Young to the organization. Young’s trade to Minnesota for a protected first round pick, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Alexey Shved was one of the original moves of “The Process.” His contract has three years remaining at $14 million per season and hamstrings the Pacers’ cap situation, especially with an Okafor acquisition.
Young, who is just 28 years old, would provide a great bench piece for a young Sixers team moving forward, especially if the team moves on from Ersan Illyasova at the trade deadline or lets him walk as a free agent this offseason.
The Pacers’ 2017 first-rounder will likely fall in the No. 18-20 range. On its own, the pick seems like pennies on the dollar for the former No. 3 overall pick, but an additional 2017 draft asset could help the Sixers reach the top three in the draft if the ping pong balls don’t bounce their way or if the Lakers’ top-three protected pick doesn’t convert in 2017.
It’s a similar haul for the Sixers to a deal that general manager Bryan Colangelo reportedly rejected last week from the New Orleans Pelicans.
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, this was the offer on the table:
Pels offered Tyreke Evans, 2017 1st rounder and future pick for Jahlil Okafor. Same package for Cousins, but with Buddy Hield added. BUDDY!
It doesn’t seem like the market for Okafor will change much ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, and if the Sixers front office is determined to move Okafor right now, the Pacers seem like a logical trade partner.
An Okafor trade would be a significant statement made by the 76ers, but what they get in return could be an even bigger statement about the state of The Process. Taking on a veteran piece like Young would be another sign that the Sixers are getting closer to going all in.