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Rumor: Celtics interested in Jahlil Okafor

Al Horford, Jahlil Okafor

Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor, right, goes up for the shot against Boston Celtics’ Al Horford, left, during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, in Philadelphia. The Celtics won 110-102. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)


Jahlil Okafor wants the 76ers to trade him or buy him out.

A possible destination: Boston.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

We’re dealing with the Celtics and 76ers, so plenty of disinformation is likely being spread. But Boston is actually the rare logical trade partner.

The Celtics have a disabled-player exception from Gordon Hayward’s injury that could be used to absorb Okafor’s contract. They also have low-end draft picks and young players to give Philadelphia.

Okafor would provide a low-post offensive option – and younger alternative – for Boston, which has Aron Baynes, Al Horford and Daniel Theis at center. There’s value in getting Okafor now, because the Celtics are trying to win now.

Boston is also highly likely to be capped out next offseason. So, acquiring Okafor’s Bird Rights now – even if they come with a $6,313,832 cap on re-signing him next summer – might be the best route to securing him long term.

Other teams – that don’t care about winning this season and will have cap room next summer – are generally better of waiting to sign him then. If they don’t trade for him, only the maximum-player salary will restrict their ability to sign him.

Of course, we’ve been down this road before and it led nowhere. The Celtics might want Okafor only after a buyout – i.e., if they don’t have to surrender any assets to Philadelphia. But if they know Boston wants him, the 76ers will resist a buyout and demand compensation in a trade.

That deadlock must get broken before Okafor, stuck in the middle, finds a better situation.