The Sixers have been looking for a trade partner for Jahlil Okafor for a while now. No team wants to just cut ties with a player and get nothing in return, especially when that player was a third overall pick only three drafts ago.
I’d expect the Sixers to stay active in trying to work out a deal. Now that could include just Okafor, or it could be a package deal with Okafor and a player or Okafor and a pick to make it work.
The tricky thing is, Okafor’s value isn’t going up. He has made it very clear he wants out of Philadelphia. He is hitting free agency next summer. On top of that, he has appeared in just two games, most recently picking up three fouls in as many minutes against the Jazz.
There are teams around the league where he could fit in as an offensive-minded center, but it’s going to be about reaching a common ground in trade talks.
Markelle Fultz is about halfway through the time period before his next reevaluation. The Sixers announced on Oct. 29 Fultz is out indefinitely (right shoulder soreness and scapular muscle imbalance). That day, the team also announced Fultz will be reevaluated in “approximately” three weeks by Dr. Ben Kibler, whom Fultz previously met with in Kentucky. Today is just under two weeks from that update. In the meantime, Fultz is receiving treatment with the Sixers and being monitored by the staff.
The biggest surprise by far is how quickly the team has gelled, especially when you look at how many significant changes were made to the roster and starting five in particular.
The starting point guard is a 6-foot-10 rookie who had never played in the NBA and was coming off a season-long foot injury. Ben Simmons didn’t have trouble assuming the floor-general role, nor did he have lingering effects from his foot fracture. To date, he has recorded seven double-doubles and a pair of triple-doubles.
The Sixers implemented a new backcourt with Jerryd Bayless, also coming back from a season-long injury (wrist), and JJ Redick, who had to adjust to a whole new team. Brett Brown went with a three-guard lineup to start the season and has had success with Redick back at shooting guard and Bayless coming in off the bench.
Robert Covington, a mainstay from last season, switched from small forward to power forward to start the season. A few games in, Brown moved Covington back to the three and found a winning formula with Dario Saric starting at the four.
Joel Embiid has played more minutes than expected (averaging 27.6) in his first month playing since knee surgery last March. That number surpasses the projection that prompted him to express frustration early on.
The biggest disappointment has been the injury to Fultz. Another ... rookie ... injury. The Sixers are clicking, but it has been without the 2017 No. 1 pick. Fultz’s injury leaves a lot of uncertainties: How will he perform when he returns, how will his shoulder hold up, how will be fit into the Sixers' system and what does that mean for the other guards?
In an ideal situation for the Sixers, they would be playing this well with a healthy squad so they know exactly what the team looks like when everyone is available. That helps to better plan for the future rather than waiting for questions to be answered.