The deadline is fast approaching and Jahlil Okafor is still a Sixer.
Is it time for the team to give up and try something different?
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski says the team is starting to consider moving another young big man, Nerlens Noel.
"If they can’t get a deal for Okafor done before the deadline, I’m told they’ll start — there are still teams checking on Noel, re-engaging on him," the NBA insider said on his podcast. "What complicates it for Noel is that he’s a restricted free agent, and teams want to know, ‘what is it going to cost us to re-sign him?’ And it’s going to be a big number.”
Noel is a more desirable piece, though he is two years older and obviously not under team control for much longer. He is a true rim protector and an athletic defensive-minded player who doesn't need the ball to have an impact in the game. He brings teams like the Clippers into the mix. The Celtics would likely be interested in his services, too.
Moves seem to be happening left and right across the NBA, but none of them involve Sixers players.
In practice Wednesday, Okafor's rumored trades to the Pacers, Bulls and Celtics was unavoidably a topic of conversation.
"I'm waiting to see what happens, keeping my phone on," Okafor told reporters. "Everyone knows the deadline is coming up tomorrow and I am one of the guys who can potentially be traded. We'll see where I wind up — or if I potentially wind up here, all good."
The third center in the center of the Sixers' current nucleus, Joel Embiid, also spoke out about the trade rumors, and not surprisingly he was in favor of keeping the team together.
“We got a lot of talent, and I feel we can use everybody if we want to get to where we want to,” Embiid said, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Obviously the playoffs are right there even if we don’t get the opportunity to make it this year. I think next year is our goal … We have a lot of talent. Anytime you have that type of talent, you got to find ways to make it work.”