The Celtics are reportedly interested in Jahlil Okafor, but they might not be willing to trade enough to get him. As long as the 76ers are refusing a buyout, Boston appears to be an unlikely landing spot for the disgruntled center.
So, other teams are emerging as possibilities.
League sources indicate the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks are the most likely destinations for Okafor.
Neither the Bulls nor Hawks look ready to do much this season, with or without Okafor. So, any trade for him should be based on the long-term.
The catch: He’s on an expiring contract, and any team that trades for him can’t give him a salary above $6,313,832 next season (what he would’ve earned on his declined fourth-year option). There are two possibilities leading up to his free agency after a trade:
- Okafor plays well. In that case, he might draw more than $6,313,832 in free agency, and the team that trades for him will be stuck.
- Okafor doesn’t play well. In that, the team that traded for him will regret surrendering an asset.
There would be some logic to trading for Okafor, acquiring his Bird Rights, evaluating him up close and then trying to re-sign him. But there’s a very narrow path for that to pay off. He can’t be too bad or too good, or that plan fails.
If Chicago or Atlanta trades for Okafor, it should be at a very low cost.