HOUSTON — The Bulls have been active with the trade deadline approaching, and they've inquired about the availability of Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, multiple league sources tell CSNChicago.com.
Okafor, a Chicago native in his second season, has fallen victim to both a numbers game in Philadelphia and also a changing game, as he's more of a traditional half-court center who isn't defensively inclined.
He's on the trading block as the 76ers have surged with the play of Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel manning the middle, and the Bulls are interested, as they don't have much in the way of low-post scoring.
Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games last year for a 76ers team that wasn't in a position to compete, and with the emergence of Embiid, a true franchise center, Okafor has been glued to the bench more times than not while also battling nagging injuries.
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This season, Okafor has appeared in 33 games and averaged 11.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 23 minutes per game in his second season out of Duke. He was the third pick in the 2015 draft.
So far, there's more interest on the Bulls' side than the 76ers' side, according to sources, but the Bulls are interested in Okafor's services. Because salaries have to match and Okafor is on a rookie-scale deal, one wonders how it can work if the 76ers aren't enamored with some of the Bulls' young players who've yet to fully blossom. The Bulls could conceivably open up talks to a third team if need be, considering it isn't likely they'd want to part with any future first-round picks as they're still deciding how they are to proceed with franchise direction in the next couple seasons.
Talks aren't necessarily heating up, but they aren't dead. It's interesting how they could see using Okafor as a low-post scorer while currently having Cristiano Felicio and Robin Lopez at center.