We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at [email protected] Here are this week’s inquiries:
Jahlil Okafor looks like the first that will be traded from the Sixers. What’s a reasonable return? I think if they get a rotation guard, they’re lucky. Greetings from Italy. — Massimo Conci
The Sixers’ big man situation is constantly changing. Okafor appeared to be the odd man out after sitting out four straight games, but he got a chance to start Saturday night and put up 26 points. He’s a rare offensive talent who can be a monster low-post scorer for the next decade and a half. Also, he’s on an inexpensive rookie contract and under team control through 2018/19, while Nerlens Noel will be a restricted free agent when the season ends. In other words, Okafor is too valuable to just give away, especially considering Joel Embiid‘s injury history. If Philadelphia does move Okafor, it should expect to get back at least a long-term starter in the backcourt.
Can the Nuggets acquire a top 25 talent with pieces they have? Such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul Millsap, etc.? — Brandon Roker
You can cross those three names off the list. ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently wrote that Pacers executive Larry Bird isn’t returning calls on George. The Kings are hoping to reach an extension with Cousins, and the Hawks have taken Millsap off the market. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry recently offered a good explanation of Denver’s problem when he was asked about trading Anthony Davis. “You don’t trade great for good,” Gentry said, “no matter how many you get.” The Nuggets have a lot of good young players, but no one close to the top 25 and no easy way of acquiring someone at that level unless they get lucky in free agency. Think about it this way. If Denver had a top 25 player, would you be willing to trade him for anyone on the roster now?
The Bulls have played awful this season. I guess they are playing exactly how everyone said they would, but as a huge fan, I obviously expected more. When I watch them beat teams like the Cavs and Spurs, they get my hopes up that this season won’t be for nothing. But then they go ahead and lose games to the Knicks and Lakers and it drives me crazy. I know they have glaring problems, but they have some real nice pieces to build something here [Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Taj Gibson, Robin Lopez, Doug McDermott]. They desperately need a point guard [Ricky Rubio?] and another scorer [Rudy Gay?] for down the stretch. Any chance the Bulls make something happen? Or can they even make something happen? — Andrew Rydberg
The Bulls could use more outside shooters, but they don’t have many assets to offer in return. They killed any trade value that Rajon Rondo might have by pulling him from their rotation, and their best hope is to flip him to a team looking to unload salary, as we examined here. With Chicago committed to keeping Butler, who has entered the MVP conversation over the past month, it’s hard to see how they do anything beyond a minor deal before the deadline.