The 76er’s are once again out of playoff contention, but are no longer the bottom feeders of the Eastern Conference. All in all, it’s been a good year for the seemingly ever rebuilding franchise over the past five plus years.
As the NBA Trade Deadline approaches they are looking to move out a piece or two to bring in talent at other positions or more draft picks, to help get them into the playoffs next season of the one after. The Bulls have reached out to the 76er’s about a potential trade for Center Jahil Okafor earlier this week, but talks died down. That is, until yesterday when it came out that talks have “ramped up” for Okafor. The biggest questions surrounding the potential trade is asking price. The Third Overall pick, and Chicago Native, in the 2015 draft could command a hefty price tag.
Breaking Okafor down by the numbers. The 21 year old has played in just 90 games spanning a season and a half, putting up decent numbers. In his rookie season he played in 53 games, starting 48 of those. He averaged 17.5 PPG, 1.2 APG, and 7.0 RPG. His rookie season was cut short due to a knee injury. Some Bulls fans may be weary about going after a star player with knee problems, as they know all to well how it went with Derrick Rose. This season Okafor has appeared in just 37 games, only starting 22 of those. His numbers are down as he is averaging 11.6 PPG, 1.0 APG, and 4.8 RPG. He has turned into more of a backup on their roster with other big men Joel Embid and Nerlens Noel also slotting into the big men spots. The Bulls are in need of another young player they can build around, and one to give Jimmy Butler some help.
It is well known the Bulls are shopping both Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo right now, and they could be on the move in a trade with the 76er’s for Okafor. The road block here is neither of those players add much in terms of trade value for the 76er’s. A draft pick would have to be packaged for the 76er’s to even give this trade some thought. Mirotic is having statistically his worst season since he came to the Bulls, only averaging 9.0 PPG, 0.9 APG, and 5.1 RPG. Even his advanced stats are down in terms of Field Goal Percentage and efficiency.
Rondo could be on the move as well, since the 76er’s are in need of a true Point Guard. Even with the problems surrounding Rondo, he could help the team move forward in terms of on court production. If Rondo or Mirotic go, even if the draft pick the 76er’s could ask for another young player in return. The question becomes, are the Bulls going to be willing to part ways with a First Round Draft Pick, or more?
As a person looking from the outside in, sacrificing a draft pick this year to get Okafor might not be the worst thing in the world, keeping in mind the team keeps Butler in the offseason. Downside is, from an outsiders perspective it is hard to tell if the Bulls Front Office will only give up one pick.
The Bulls will have to compete with the other frontrunner for Okafor in the, Pelicans and the newest team rumored, the Trail Blazers. The deal is good if the Bulls only have to give up Mirotic and this years First Round Pick. The trade is bad if the Bulls have to give up this and more, or just do so because that’s what they always seem to do. Okafor is a good player, one that could help the Bulls. It just comes down to price, and the few other teams rumored to have interest. If it comes down to a bidding war between the Bulls and Pelicans, there could be a lot on the move in the coming days.