The Philadelphia 76ers have been linked with many trade speculations this past summer and they are not going away anytime soon until the February deadline. The latest NBA rumors suggest that the Sixers should trade Jahlil Okafor immediately while retaining Nerlens Noel.
The Sixers had a frontcourt jam at the start of the offseason with Okafor, Noel, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons all vying for a starting spot. The first two players mentioned were part of many rumors but no trade came to fruition.
However, Philadelphia has an easier decision to make since Simmons is out for three months or possibly the entire season due to a foot injury. Embiid is showing tremendous potential in the preseason but he will be in a minutes restriction when the season starts.
When the season for the Sixers starts next Wednesday, Okafor and Embiid are the likely starters with Noel out with a groin injury. But how will the team react when he gets healthy and the logjam creates problems?
According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer News, the Sixers will likely use a combination of the three big men. However, one NBA executive believes the most effective duo will be Noel and Embiid rather than Okafor and Embiid.
“Nerlens can guard the fours and keep Embiid around the rim. And on the offensive end, Embiid can step out more and Nerlens can be more around the basket. It would be an athletic and great defensive combination,” the executive told Pompey.
If the Sixers go through with the Embiid and Noel plan, Jahlil Okafor will likely get traded for a point guard. But John Smallwood of the same news outlet thinks that the Sixers should get rid of Noel instead of Okafor.
“Since before last season’s trade deadline, I’ve said the Sixers should cut bait with center Nerlens Noel and package him in a deal for either a promising, young scoring wing or point guard,” Smallwood reported.
He pointed out that the Sixers cannot afford to pay three young centers with a max deal which is why it’s ideal to trade Noel for a point guard or a wing. Some of the names being thrown around for the Sixers to acquire are Brandon Knight, Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones and Shabazz Muhammad.
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