The Boston Celtics will offer Marcus Smart and the lottery draft pick owed to them by Brooklyn Nets to try and acquire Jahlil Okafor away from Philadelphia 76ers this offseason, per league sources.
Okafor, drafted third overall in the 2015 Draft, underwent a season-ending arthroscopic surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Prior to the injury, Okafor appeared in 53 games for Philadelphia and averaged an impressive tally of 17.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
Despite Okafor’s impressive rookie season, the Sixers will struggle to find playing time for Okafor next season since Joel Embiid is expected to make his long-awaited NBA debut. With Nerlens Noel already making the Power Forward position his own, the Sixers have a stacked front court.
Odd pairing of Embiid, Okafor
On Sunday, Keith Pompey of Philly.com revealed that the Sixers will look to trade Okafor during the summer. “Similar players, Okafor and Embiid are an unlikely pairing. They are both liabilities guarding athletic power forwards and chasing stretch fours on the perimeter. So the belief is that the Sixers may try to move Okafor this summer if Embiid is healthy. If he isn’t, they have to decide between Okafor and Noel,” revealed the Sixers reporter.
According to the Boston Herald, the Celtics aggressively tried to acquire Okafor prior to last month’s February 18 trade deadline. And though Boston couldn’t strike a deal at the time, it is expected that they once again go after the former Duke product this forthcoming offseason.
Remember, the Celtics will have Brooklyn Nets’ lottery pick – which is projected to fall inside the top 5. According to a source close to GM Danny Ainge, the team will be willing to give up Smart and Brooklyn’s pick if Sixers were ready to deal Okafor. Even though Smart has shown signs of improvement this season, the sophomore is still viewed as a back-up to starting PG Isiah Thomas.
Will Jahlil Okafor be the starting center for the Boston Celtics next season?