76ers reportedly bench Jahlil Okafor amid trade rumors; Chicago in the mix?
Okafor has been held out from playing as the team explores the trade market
Jahlil Okafor's time in Philadelphia may be coming to an end. Okafor was held out of Saturday's game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat, and did not travel with the team on Sunday to Charlotte ahead of the team's Monday night game against the Hornets.
Tom Moore of the Associated Press reported on Sunday that the Sixers were "working on" trying to finalize a trade involving Okafor.
Okafor has his Twitter location set to Chicago, which sparked speculation from folks on social media as trade talks have heated up. A native of Chicago, the Bulls are interested in acquiring him via trade, as are the Pelicans, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers, according to a report from Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.
Because of the team opting to sit him in what will be the second consecutive game on Monday, it appears the trade is all but imminent. Many teams will sit players who could be on the move to protect its asset and avoid the risk of injury. The question now looks to be "where?" rather than "if?" After Monday's game against Charlotte, the 76ers have one game remaining before the All-Star Game, so it's entirely possible we won't see Okafor on the floor again until after the break.
On Sunday, Denver acquired Mason Plumlee from Portland in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic which, conceivably, takes both teams out of the running. So will it be Chicago? New Orleans? Or any of the other suitors perhaps not yet named? We don't yet know. But each of those teams could potentially put a talented big man such as Okafor to work quickly. And it could go down quickly. The trade deadline is Feb. 23.
Picked as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Okafor is averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23.2 minutes during his sophomore season. Thanks to the emergence of Joel Embiid, however, his numbers are down across the board compared to 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 30 minutes per game from a season ago.
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