Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor On Chicago Bulls’ Radar
With the Philadelphia 76ers’ second year forward-center Jahlil Okafor falling out of favor, the Chicago Bulls have reportedly expressed interest in his services.
With the February 23 trade deadline fast approaching, rumors are starting to trickle into the news stream. The Philadelphia 76ers‘ Jahlil Okafor has now joined a list of players being mentioned as trade bait. The Chicago Bulls have reportedly expressed their interest in the former Duke product, according to CSN Chicago.
Okafor’s second season in the league has been undermined by a combination of injuries and the emergence of rookie of the year favourite Joel Embiid. After averaging 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 53 appearances as a rookie, Okafor’s numbers have dropped to 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 34 games.
Chicago is currently 23rd in the league in scoring at 102.4 points per game. Acquiring Okafor would provide the Bulls a low-post scoring threat for the next decade. Despite being the third overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Okafor has seen his role with the Sixers significantly diminished this season. He has started on just 19 occasions, and has encountered the dreaded Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision on multiple occasions.
How much the Bulls are willing to give up, or what the Sixers are expecting in return, is anyone’s guess. With no further information available aside from the Bulls’ expressed interest, forecasting the likelihood of talks progressing further is difficult.
The 76ers’ success with Okafor on and off the floor this season has been profound. The Sixers are -15.1 points per 100 possessions with Okafor on the floor. They are just -1.6 when he is off the court.
Okafor’s deficiencies at the defensive end of the court, combined with Embiid’s significant impact in the paint on both ends of the floor, means he could be available at right price.
A potential Okafor move could certainly have ramifications for the 76ers’ race towards the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Just 4.5 games behind the eighth place Detroit Pistons, the future of Okafor presents a fascinating supblot to a highly promising season.
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