The Boston Celtics were very close to acquiring Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor prior to February’s NBA Trade Deadline. They will once again try to acquire the former Duke standout this offseason, per several sources close to the organization.
On Thursday, CSN New England’s Gary Tanguay said Boston would trade the third overall pick for Okafor. “As soon as the lottery came down (on May 17), there was buzz immediately that Philadelphia wanted to move and they wanted that number three pick because they’re interested in Kris Dunn out of Providence and then you would have Dunn, and you know, say, ‘I know what the Sixers are thinking, they go with Simmons, you have a guard in Dunn, and then you get your big guy Noel and you ship Okafor up here.’ The Celtics would do that deal in a minute,” Tanguay said on the WIP Morning Show.
Celtics close to acquiring Okafor?
Meanwhile, popular analyst and HBO host Bill Simmons reckoned that Sixers would benefit from getting rid of Okafor, seeing as they already have Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid on the roster. “I think the guy they’re going to trade for is Okafor. I think that almost happened in February. If you think about it, it makes a ton of sense for Philly. They spent all of these high lottery picks on big guys. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and last year Okafor, and meanwhile the league has gone small,” Simmons told Toucher & Rich on the popular radio show.
Simmons continued: “You need perimeter guys to win in the NBA. If you put Ben Simmons with any of those guys, it doesn’t really make sense. Ben Simmons can’t shoot. He’s probably a stretch-4 in the NBA and he can’t shoot which makes him just a 4. You already have a bunch of guys who can’t shoot.”
It’s no secret that Celtics have been fans of Jahlil Okafor since the center’s days in Duke. With the Sixers desperate for a point guard, this deal could benefit both teams going forward.