NBA Rumors: Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel staying in Philadelphia; Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo worried about Joel Embiid’s health

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Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel

Philadelphia 76er general manager Bryan Colangelo denies the reports that they are ‘aggressively shopping’ Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. In the nearing start of the 2016-17 NBA season, it remains questionable on how their three centers will be given enough playing time.

The 2015-16 NBA season was a nightmare for the Philadelphia 76ers after finishing at the 15th spot in the Eastern Conference with a disappointing record of 10-72. During the upcoming season, there is a growing optimism in Philadelphia that their team is already in a win now mode.

The Sixers have added young, promising talents on their roster this summer. Talented rookies like Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid will now be joining the Sixers to help them compete next season. The team also signed veteran guards Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez.

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However, the arrival of Saric, Simmons, and Embiid created a logjam in the Sixers’ frontcourt. In July, Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo said that they were not ‘absolutely comfortable’ having three centers on their team.

“What we are comfortable doing is saying we’re not going to make a bad deal just to make a deal,” Colangelo said on the radio show. “I think we could be a better basketball team if we could distribute that talent better, and maybe take one of those assets and address other needs on the roster.

In the past months, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel have been frequently mentioned in various trade rumors. The 2015-16 NBA season showed the lack of chemistry between the two big men, resulting in team’s poor performance. There were speculations that they will be trading one of them to address their backcourt problem.

ALSO READ: Jahlil Okafor perfect fit in New York? Knicks sending Kyle O’Quinn, Justin Holiday and future draft picks to Sixers

However, recently, Colangelo denied that they are ‘aggressively shopping’ Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel.

“Making a statement that absolutely something will be done is not necessarily the case,” Colangelo said during the podcast, which was released Wednesday morning. “I think what I said over the course of the summer is there is no doubt that we got three talented players. It’s a high-class problem to have.”

As of now, there is no official confirmation on who will be the Sixers’ starting center next season. Last season, Jahlil Okafor showed an impressive performance in the offensive end while Nerlens Noel was the Sixers top defensive player.

Joel Embiid might be entering his rookie year, but he was considered as the best center prospect when the Sixers selected him with their third overall pick in 2014. However, his health is still a major concern for the Sixers. Embiid had two operations on the navicular bone in his right foot that prevented him from playing for two seasons.

According to ESPN Summer Forecast, the Sixers are projected to be the worst team in the Eastern Conference, together with Brooklyn Nets. Should the predictions come true, the Sixers might consider trading at least one of their big men to improve their roster.

Photo courtesy: @nerlensnoel3/Instagram

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