Philadelphia 76ers RUMORS: Joel Embiid Return Forces Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel Trade Talk?

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Feb 18, 2016 11:55 AM EST
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Jahlik Okafor
Philadelphia 76ers rookie Jahlik Okafor drives to the basket during a 2016 game."

The Philadelphia 76ers love to mull around the trade deadline as they are always loaded with moveable assets and draft picks. The team has been winning games with a younger roster group, but with the options of trades in front of them, the 76ers are answering the phones. With the deadline just hours away, could Jahlil Okafor get moved?

The 76ers drafted Okafor with the No.3 pick this year and he has been as good as advertised. The forward is averaging 17.1 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Sixers this season, but with the team's building plan always fluid, they are fielding interest for the star. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers are gauging interest for Okafor, but are not set on trading him. Sources report the deal would have to make a lot of sense for Philadelphia for them to give up their first-round draft pick.

Pompey reported that the 76ers are showing interest in both Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder of the Atlanta Hawks with Okafor getting offered in a trade deal. That would likely not please 76ers fans while Atlanta fans would love to get a younger star like Okafor on the court. The chances that deal happens are slim. Moving Okafor should not be totally ruled out for the 76ers. The team traded reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks at the deadline last year, so nothing can be ruled out for the franchise.

Pompey points out that a trade of Okafor could be a target because he and Nerlens Noel have not played well together this season. According to stats, the Sixers are 19.3 points per 100 possessions when they are on the court. If the team feels confident that Joel Embiid will get healthy following a second foot surgery and fit better on the court than Okafor, they will try and made a trade quickly.

Embiid has so far been a bust for the 76ers. The third overall pick in 2014 has not played a minute in the league thanks to a reoccurring foot injury. However, according to CSNPhilly.com, head coach Brett Brown still has faith the center can get on the court sooner rather than later.

"I think Jerry Colangelo said it best - that's a high-class problem," Brown said, via CSNPhilly.com. "Joel coming back will be a challenge in that he hasn't played basketball for two years. For us to expect immediate results would be naïve. I say that because inevitably there will be minute restrictions with what we expect. How they co-exist is ever present."

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