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Sixers More Likely To Trade Noel Than Okafor

Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel have been the subjects of trade rumors for most of the year, and there’s still a good chance that one of the two players will be moved in advance of this season’s trade deadline. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, however, the Sixers “don’t have much desire” to trade Okafor. Kyler tweets that Noel is the more likely trade candidate, as he and the team are “not on the same page at all.”

While Okafor hasn’t said a whole lot about the logjam at center in Philadelphia, Noel referred to the situation as “silly” prior to the start of training camp in the fall, expressing surprise that the front office hadn’t addressed the club’s crowded depth chart by making a trade in the summer. The Sixers, meanwhile, weren’t entirely happy that Noel decided to stay in Massachusetts to work out this summer, according to Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Daily News. Shortly after he reported to camp, the 22-year-old felt discomfort in his knee, and that issue has kept him out of action ever since.

So far this season, with Noel sidelined due to that knee injury and Okafor and Joel Embiid on minutes limits, the Sixers’ center logjam hasn’t been a major issue. But Noel is getting closer to returning to action, and Okafor’s minutes restrictions have been lifted, so the competition for playing time in the frontcourt is about to heat up, as Cooney writes.

Noel’s return isn’t imminent, but it could happen in December, at which point the team will have to determine how he fits into a frontcourt rotation that also features Richaun Holmes. As Kyler tweets, the fourth-year big man – who will be playing for a potential payday this season – would prefer a situation where he has a more prominent role, rather than one where he splits time with Embiid.

Although Noel’s contract is up in 2017, he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency, meaning any team that trades for him this year would have a leg up to keep him. Noel’s contract situation may provide more incentive for the Sixers to move him, since the team would have to either re-sign him to a huge deal or lose him for nothing if they don’t deal him by this year’s deadline. Okafor, on the other hand, will remain on his rookie contract through the 2018/19 season.

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8 thoughts on “Sixers More Likely To Trade Noel Than Okafor

  1. Why not both?

  2. smittybanton

    Pretenders who need Nerlens to shore up their interior defense:

    Golden State – Patrick McCaw & Kevon Looney?
    San Antonio – Dejounte Murray & Kyle Anderson?
    Toronto – Norman Powell & Terrance Ross?
    Boston – Terry Rozier & rights to BKN17?

    • There’s no way Boston is trading BKN17. They have the worst roster in the NBA and are probably going to win the tank championship.

      • Agreed. I also don’t see SA moving Murray (their potential PG of the future) for immediate short term help when there is no obvious fit for Noel (he’d be playing behind Aldridge and Gasol at the least). And while I get Toronto’s need for a rim protector, I don’t see them trading two of their rotation players for one (not to mention the abundance of bigs they would then possess).

        • smittybanton

          If a rim protector like Noel stands between your team and a likely Finals run, you spend to get him. That’s for the short term. Plus, for the long term, the 2017 draft is stocked with guards and wings and has no centers on Noel’s level defensively.

          Obviously, those teams don’t want to give up things of value. But they have needs, and the Sixers haven’t traded a big man this whole time everyones’ been screaming for it, so they’re not letting him go cheap. Colangelo can’t allow himself to get fleeced after taking over for Hinkie.

          The most obvious fit is Golden State, which is why I have them first. But NN’s cap hold this summer will cause issues for them re-signing him, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.

  3. DarkGhost

    Okafor for sure, doesn’t play defense, not a good rebounder, and has had issues off the court.

  4. ucalex

    Still can’t figure out what Sam Hinkie’s end game was

    • Thats why Embiid said “he died for our sins.” It was a sacrifice he made for the future betterment of the team. In the end, regardless of whether okafor or noel or stauskus or anyone in the 2017 draft works out, he tanked for the best two players in 2 drafts (2014 and 2016). The Simmons Embiid pick and roll will be lengendary and allow the sixers to dominate the NBA for at least a decade.

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