Bulls

With Jahlil Okafor on trading block, is a Chicago homecoming imminent?

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USA TODAY

With Jahlil Okafor on trading block, is a Chicago homecoming imminent?

The Bulls have emerged as a serious suitor for embattled Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, according to NBA.com's David Aldridge

Per Aldridge's report: 

League sources indicate the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are the most likely destinations for Okafor. But the Sixers are still holding out for at least a Draft pick, and could still opt to keep Okafor either as insurance against further injury to Embiid, or as a potential expiring contract to aggregate as the trade deadline nears.

With Okafor's value plummeting throughout the league due to a dramatic shift away from one-dimensional big men, the move could be relatively inexpensive and low-risk. But the 21-year-old, who shined at Whitney Young High School on Chicago's West Side, has struggled in his two-plus seasons in the NBA. 

Once seen as a valuable asset in former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie's "The Process," the No. 3 overall pick in 2014 already has a reputation as a low-post scorer who can't do much else. He hasn't shown rim protection or outside shooting ability, limiting his effectiveness on both ends of the floor. In other words, with the league fawning over pace and space, Okafor doesn't fit either. 

After averaging 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign, Okafor's numbers have dipped significantly. Playing in eight fewer minutes per contest, he averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in his sophomore slump and this season, he's appeared in only one game. 

Whether the Bulls want to take on Okafor as a midseason reclamation process remains to be seen, but the cost of doing business with the Sixers will likely be a second round pick. Otherwise, they can roll the dice and wait until after the season, when they can sign the Chicago native without parting with any assets. 

Soon enough, the United Center crowd may hear a "from Chicago..." again. 

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen has career-high 26 points in loss to Suns

Lauri Markkanen continues to impress.

The 20-year-old rookie had a career-high 26 points in the Bulls' 113-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. He also picked up 13 rebounds.

After the game, in which the Bulls fell to 3-11 on the season, coach Fred Hoiberg had high praise for the Finnish.

"I thought Lauri was phenomenal," Hoiberg said. "But when he is open, we gotta get him the ball. When he's got it rolling like he did tonight, guys were switching and we had him a couple of times with the point guard buried in his back and we didn't get him the ball."

Watch what Hoiberg had to say about the Bulls' tight loss in the video above.

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

Road Ahead: Bulls prep for Lonzo Ball and the Lakers

The Bulls have a busy week ahead of them.

It will kick off on Tuesday when Fred Hoiberg & Co. take on Lonzo Ball and the Lakers in Los Angeles.

After that, the Bulls will head to Utah and face the Jazz on Wednesday, followed by the defending champ Golden State Warriors on Friday. Both games — against the Jazz and Warriors — will be on NBC Sports Chicago, and streaming live on the NBC Sports app.

See what Mark Schanowski, Vincent Goodwill, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue had to say about the upcoming week in the latest Honda Road Ahead.