Chad Ford: Sixers may not be able to get top-5 pick for Okafor, Noel may be more valuable

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When rumors started swirling about a potential trade between the Celtics and 76ers involving Boston's 3rd overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft and Sixers' big man Jahlil Okafor, there were many on both sides who believed it to be a pretty fair deal that would benefit both teams.

Obviously, there is never universal support among a fanbase for a rumored deal and many Sixers fans thought they were getting the short end. Plenty in Philly don't want the Sixers to part with Jah after just one season.

Turns out, teams around the league don't seem to believe Okafor is worth a top-5 pick in the upcoming draft, at least according to NBA insider Chad Ford.

Ford was a guest on 97.5 the Fanatic on Thursday afternoon and spoke about the desire around the league for one of the Sixers' big men. From Liberty Ballers:

I think that the Sixers and I both believed that the most valuable asset they had other than the No. 1 pick was [Jahlil] Okafor. I think that now, several weeks of gauging that interest around the league has led them to the conclusion that he might not be as valuable as they once thought. I think they went into the process asking the question, "Would we trade for the No. 3 pick, or the No. 4 pick or the No. 5 pick for a guy like Okafor, would that be good value for us?' And I think they've walked out of that scenario saying, 'We don't think we can actually get that for Okafor right now."

I think that's less an indictment on Okafor than it is a realization that center has become a little bit like a running back in the NFL... Especially the sort of player Okafor is, which is a back to the basket, below the rim, not particularly athletic, not going to stretch the floor, doesn't necessarily play defense big man. That just doesn't fit the schemes that most NBA coaches are after, including I think the 76ers. So I think there was a major miscalculation on the part of Sam Hinkie when he selected him at [three].

...

[Nerlens] Noel might actually end up having more trade value because he does some things in the modern NBA, his ability to defend multiple positions, his shot-blocking, his ability to finish on the break, that make him perhaps a more attractive option right now. They're exploring that as well, but it's not easy to necessarily move either of those guys right now and get the sort of value that Philadelphia wants, which I think what they want is a top five or six pick in this draft, or a young point guard, or a young two guard that can really shoot the basketball to pair on the floor with Ben Simmons.

As Kyle Neubeck points out, regardless of what side of the Okafor-Noel debate you fall on, this isn't positive news for Sixers fans. It could also be opposing team GMs feeding info in an attempt to lower the price on one of the Sixers' bigs.

It was just a few short weeks ago when Ford also said there was a "high likelihood" that the Sixers would trade Okafor or Noel.

Perhaps we'll find out how teams really feel, including the Sixers, about the big men next Thursday night in Brooklyn.

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