Could the price finally be right for the Celtics to land Jahlil Okafor?
The Celtics are getting in every trade rumor for everyone and it's getting a little bit ridiculous... but here's another trade rumor/idea/concept/fleeting thought floating around out there.
While Blake or Westbrook would transform the Celtics and put them in a battle for East supremacy with the Cavs, there's another move out there that would make the Celtics better next year. It would be simply moving a few non-essential pieces of the rebuild to get the third pick in the 2015 draft. Jahlil Okafor. From the Herald's Steve Bulpett:
“Oh, Danny definitely wants to do something,” said one rival general manager. “We’ve got nothing that really works with Boston, but I bet something happens there.”
He went on to say he believes Jahlil Okafor, reported here to be a target just before the February trade deadline, may be the best fit for a deal. The question there remains whether Philadelphia and the C’s can find the right trade components, especially after they were unable to work things out just before the draft when the 76ers, after taking Ben Simmons at No. 1 overall, were hot after the third pick and Dunn.
“I still wouldn’t be surprised if something happened there,” the GM said.
Okafor is just a way better version of Jared Sullinger only a year into his rookie deal. The Celtics obviously got their guy in the hyper-athletic Jaylen Brown at three. It's pretty clear that they had the choice to get Okafor for a package centered around the #3 pick and didn't pull the trigger. Philly needs to make a move to clear room in their front court, and according to the Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks the price would be more than palatable:
The Celtics need star power and scoring punch upfront, and they have the defensive personnel on the perimeter to mitigate Okafor’s lack of rim protection. With their vast collection of assets, the Celtics would be able to piece together an attractive package without sacrificing Jaylen Brown, their pick swap with the Nets next season, or the 2018 first-rounder Brooklyn will be sending them. There’s a lot for the Sixers to choose from: Terry Rozier, Demetrius Jackson, James Young, R.J. Hunter, Marcus Thornton, Guerschon Yabusele, Ben Bentil, Jordan Mickey, Ante Zizic, and future picks. The Celtics are as well positioned as anyone to take a gamble on Okafor without jeopardizing their present or their future.
Okafor for a grab bag of players drafted 16 or later the last couple years and a non-lottery first rounder or two? That seems like a no brainer. While Terry Rozier just had himself a summer, the Celtics have depth at guard and could really use a scorer up front.
An Okafor trade that doesn't compromise the present OR the future? It might not be the high profile deal that fans are thirsting for, but it's a pretty damn decent backup plan.
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