Another day, another Pacers trade rumor: Ramon Shelburne of ESPN reported this morning that the Pacers are targeting Jahlil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers. Yesterday, it was Brook Lopez being mentioned as a target of the Pacers.
Okafor has been the subject of trade rumors every so often basically since he was drafted by the 76ers thanks to their plethora of young centers in Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Okafor.
Okafor was taken third overall in last year’s draft and has plenty of offensive post skills. So far in his career, he seems like a player born into the wrong era. In 23 minutes per game this season, he’s averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds.
This would continue the trend of Bird acquiring players that can score without much thought as to how they actually fit in with the roster.
Shelburne doesn’t give any details about what the Pacers would be offering in this deal, but a best guess would probably be something like Al Jefferson and a first-round pick for Okafor. This would not seem to fix any of the Pacers existing problems however as Okafor seems to be a poor-man’s Al Jefferson when it comes to statistics at this point in their careers.
The hypothetical deal I put out there (Al and a mid-to-late round first for Okafor) might not even be enough for the Sixers to want to pull the plug on their top draft pick from just one year ago anyway. A deal that already looks questionable at best in terms of fit gets worse if they have to give up more than that (unless more is Monta Ellis and his contract).
Jefferson is a more efficient scorer in the post and Okafor’s not any better than Big Al on defense. Okafor has plenty of time to grow as he’s only in his second season in the league, but the trade seems a little too familiar to the Pacers getting another former high pick from the Sixers at the deadline that they were ready to give up on: Evan Turner. We all know how that worked out.