The Argument For Trading Either Okafor Or Noel
With the NBA Draft and the start of NBA Free Agency just weeks away there are numerous reports and rumors swirling around. The latest are reports of a discussed trade between the Sixers and Hawks that would involve Nerlens Noel going to Atlanta and the Sixers receiving Jeff Teague.
Too much of the discussion about the potential of trading either Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel has focused on who they should or should not trade, but what about a better understanding of Why the Sixers would trade them?
Sixers Beat Writer Keith Pompey was a guest on The Sports Bash on Friday and explained the reasoning for the 76ers for why they are exploring their options to trade one of their young big men:
"It comes to a point where you realize you gotta move on and what I mean by 'Move on' is they are trying to build a team now. So it's one of those things where 'Okay if we get Joel Embiid, we know that if healthy he can be a beast but we're not really going to focus on that right now. Whatever we get from him is a bonus, is a plus but at this particular time we have two bigs who can't play together. So what we have to do is if they can't play together it's no good to have one on the bench when we can get a (Shooting) Guard, a Point Guard, or a wing in exchange for him.''
This reasoning makes more sense then some of the subjective explanations we have heard over the last few weeks. Bryan Colangelo and his "New Direction" for this rebuilding franchise and the way he and Brett Brown have spoke in recent media interviews, it is fair to conjecture that the strategy is changing from gathering assets to team building.
So if the short and long term plans involve building this team, then trading either Okafor or Noel is a logical move because having three Centers (if you include Joel Embiid) who have not shown the ability to play the Power Forward position at an acceptable level hamstrings your roster. You also have two Power Forwards under contract on the roster for next season (Carl Landry and Richaun Holmes) and we are still unsure if or when Dario Saric comes to the 76ers if he is a Stretch Power Forward or a Big Small Forward.
Pompey is right, this team needs Point Guard, Shooting Guard, Wing Players on this roster who are more than "Projects" and "solid bench contributors". We can argue till blue in the face about whether the team should trade Noel or Okafor but we can all agree this team needs players at other positions.
The team holds the number one overall pick and the top two prospects are Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. Both of those players are projected to play Small Forward in the NBA. So the Sixers need Guards. T.J. McConnell is a solid backup Point Guard in the NBA and Nik Stauskas can be a contributor of the bench in the NBA. At this time I do not see a bonafide starter on this roster to slot in at Point or Shooting Guard. So if the team can acquire a player via trade that can fill one of those slots, that's one less position that has to be covered in Free Agency this summer.
Hear what Keith Pompey had to say about the Sixers Trade Rumors, what is the value of Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor for other teams, and his conjecture as to why these rumors are leaking to the media