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Report: The 76ers will likely trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor

Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor have played together for all of one year so far. The thought is that Okafor and Noel can’t work together as neither of them can really spread the floor and the paint would simply be too clogged. The Philadelphia 76ers and their staff are unsure if it’s time to call the trial a complete failure, but they may want to give it a go for another year.

Chad Ford of ESPN went on 97.3 ESPN radio the other day to discuss the possibility of the 76ers moving Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor before the draft:

“I think that there’s a very high likelihood, that whether it’s to move up in the draft or use them to grab a free agent in a sign and trade or just to a trade, that you will not see the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor pairing at the start of next season. I think that they’ll gauge the interest of both players. I think that there might be a slight preference for Noel, to keep him around with the Sixers, and I think you might be right, there might be a slight, better value for Okafor out on the market, but I think everyone agrees that that combination of those two players doesn’t necessarily work.

The Sixers needs to pick up assets, especially if they’re gonna go ahead and do a Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram with the first pick in the draft. Then they’re gonna need those assets to start to fill out their backcourt, because the 24th pick and [the 26th pick], you’re not finding starters. I’m not even sure that you’re necessarily finding rotation players at that back end of the draft that are gonna make big impact, so they’re gonna have to do that via free agency or via trade, and I think either Okafor or Noel — I don’t think they’ll trade both — but one of those two is probably their best trade chip.”

All of this really depends on who the 76ers draft with the 1st overall pick. If they decide to go with Brandon Ingram, they’ll be filling a need at SF. Keeping Noel and Okafor might be the right thing to do given there is no guarantee yet with Joel Embiid. The prudent decision would be to not move either of them and try it out with the both of them for one more year.

jahlil okafor nerlens noel bench

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, if the 76ers decide to draft Ben Simmons with the 1st pick, trading either Noel or Okafor will have to be done. Ben Simmons is a power forward in today’s NBA. There’s no reason for Philadelphia to keep Okafor, Noel, Simmons, and Embiid. That won’t work out. If the 76ers pick Simmons, which they seem to be leaning towards, then trading Okafor or Noel for a top-five pick might be the best option.

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