The Chicago Bulls had previously been linked to Okafor in the last week. The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is a Chicago native, so the mutual interest from Okafor’s party and the Bulls camp seems logical.
What the Bulls could offer remains murky.
Earlier this evening, the Sixers dealt starting forward Ersan Illyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for Thiago Splitter and future draft picks. Whether the Sixers are looking to add additional draft picks or impact players to put into the rotation still remains unclear.
“Philadelphia has continued discussions on trading center Jahlil Okafor, league sources said. Talks with the Chicago Bulls were continuing Tuesday night, with the Bulls working to persuade the 76ers to accept forward Nikola Mirotic as part of a trade package, league sources said.”
Mirotic could help the Sixers stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, and a change of scenery could be good for the talented forward. Shooting just 29.9 percent from three this season, Mirotic’s value isn’t as high as it once was but he could play a similar role for the Sixers that Illyasova previously played.
A larger trade for superstar Jimmy Butler, who has also seen his name in trade rumors this week, seems unlikely. But a deal with McDermott or Valentine and the Bulls 2017 first-round pick could be enough for general manager Bryan Colangelo to pull the trigger if he’s determined to move Okafor by the deadline.
The Bulls currently occupy the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they could continue their recent struggles in the second half of the season and land in the lottery.
It makes sense for the Sixers to move on from Okafor now, and if the market for him only features contenders, the Bulls’ first-rounder makes the most sense to target in a trade given the possibility it falls into the lottery. The potential of having three first round picks in a deep 2017 NBA Draft makes a lot of sense for Philadelphia, especially if they plan on taking multiple guards in the lottery.