By Brian Yalung
While most are focused on the 2017 NBA All-Star festivities, trade talks are quietly lingering in the background. Jahlil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers is one of the popular names who could be dealt on or before the Feb. 23 deadline.
There are several teams who have been linked to Jahlil Okafor. The list includes the Chicago Bulls and the New Orleans Pelicans. Nothing has come to fruiting but a recent report claims that a deal involving the sophomore was close to happening.
According to Turner Sports analyst David Aldridge, Okafor was close to joining the Portland Trail Blazers. He pointed out how the third pick of the 2015 NBA Draft wasn’t around when the Sixers faced the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets. Okafor only returned when Philly loss to the Boston Celtics last Wednesday.
The 76ers pulled Jahlil Okafor from their lineup last week b/c a deal w/Portland for the center was close to happening, per league sources.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) February 18, 2017
Apparently, the Blazers went in a different direction and took in Jusuf Nurkic from the Denver Nuggets instead. The Blazers and the Nuggets were two of the first teams to express interest on Okafor before the Bulls and the Pelicans, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype.
Source: Jahlil Okafor was informed that the 76ers have had trade talks with the Bulls, Pelicans, Blazers and Nuggets. Discussions ongoing.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 12, 2017
With that out of the way, NBA trade talk is expected to heat up with only days to go before the Feb. 23 deadline.
Teammate Joel Embiid voiced out his support for the Sixers to keep Okafor, believing that they can find ways to make it work, Philly.com reported.
“We have a lot of talent. Anytime you have that type of talent, you got to find ways to make it work.”