A trustworthy reporter, Sean Deveaney from Sporting News, is in communication during All-Star Weekend with Jahlil Okafor, who tells him, “There’s a bunch of trade rumors. New Orleans. Chicago. Ten different teams. So, I said it before, I just have to do whatever I can control. The rumors are going to continue to come out. As far as I know, I am still a Sixer and happy to be a Sixer. I am going to keep working hard every day.”
There’s a new rumor now, and Deveaney is the author of it: The Dallas Mavericks are interested in trading for the Sixers’ young center.
But sources tell DallasBasketball.com that this is an accurate — albeit a bit dated — angle.
“We talked to Philly a while ago,’’ one source tells us. “But nothing recently.’’
Indeed, if you read exactly what Deveaney wrote, it mirrors what we've been told: "The Mavs previously inquired.'' This can change on the fly, of course; as NBA execs collect for the weekend in New Orleans. But Dallas’ trade-deadline position is to offer up its 2017 No. 1 pick only if a star is dangled in return.
And Okafor is not that.
From a voice inside the talks, however cursory they seemingly were: "It didn't get far. We made it clear we aren't trading our pick.''
Okafor is only 21, and by averaging 11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks this season in 23 minutes a game, there is promise there. But if another team is willing to part with a high pick, that other team (New Orleans?) will win the bidding.
Dallas, which presently holds the No. 7 slot in the draft, insists its unwilling to sacrifice that prize for someone of Okafor’s ilk.
Philadelphia’s sales pitch is that he was the third-overall pick from the 2015 draft. The realities are that most teams view him as a reserve center with good potential. … and we believe that is Dallas’ view.
Deveaney writes that the Pelicans are attempting to acquire him while “hoping to give up only one first-round pick.’’ That suggests that either Philly is asking for more, or somebody might be willing to give more … and again, Dallas is reluctant to even give the one.