A Jahlil Okafor trade looks imminent for the Sixers.
The oft-benched center — gifted offensively but lacking a proper fit in Philadelphia's future plans — did not travel to Charlotte for Monday's game against the Hornets, days after not traveling to Miami this weekend.
The Sixers have been mum on the specifics, but it is clear trade talks are ongoing as the deadline approaches next week. The Nuggets and Blazers, believed to be in the mix, are no longer suitors after the teams swapped Mason Plumlee for Jusuf Nurkic on Sunday.
The Bulls and Pelicans remain as likely landing spots for Okafor, but reports suggest the Sixers are being patient and searching for the right deal.
"Jahlil Okafor’s situation is transparent,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown told media members after shootaround Monday. “He’s in the middle of being discussed in trade scenarios. So I felt that it complicates things to play him the last game, and now clearly this is continuing on. That’s the reason he isn’t here.”
“It isn’t completely structured. His life is, right now, up in the air a little bit. We’re mindful of that, we’re respectful of that. We’ll progress as it unfolds.”
Chicago's Jimmy Butler is the biggest and most desirable name, and though he's been the subject of a bevy of rumors he may not be the return piece. New Orleans' Jrue Holiday has also had his name thrown out, and he is a perfect fit for the Sixers. Whether the team can land a big star is doubtful but not impossible.
More likely will be the acquisition of a mid-level veteran along the lines of Ersan Ilyasova or a protected first round draft pick.