Gordon Hayward's season-ending knee injury suffered on opening has depressed a rather excited Celtics fanbase. Despite his absence, the C's are hanging tough, with a lot of good young players and a coach that knows what buttons to push to make things right. With such a core and the previous commitment to winning now made by ownership and GM Danny Ainge, the Celtics won't look to regress from their expectations and will hope to bring Banner 18 to Boston nonetheless.
One of the facets of the NBA's salary cap mechanisms and intricacies allows the Celtics to apply for essentially a mulligan for the rest of the season due to a hardship suffered by a season-ending injury. Such a hardship turns into a credit, called a Disabled Player Exception (DPE). The NBA league offices just approved such an exception for the Celts this past week.
Like any token from the league though, there are rules attached. Teams don't just get a redo on their roster and any player to add through trade or free agency. The relevant rules portion of the Disabled Player Exception are as follows:
Currently the Celtics are a safe $9.4 million below the luxury tax, so the fifth bullet point won't discourage them from using the full DPE. That said, using almost all of it would get them closer to the luxury tax threshold if they were to decide to make other moves. The first four points are the meat and potatoes of the rule... this exception is worth $8.4 million and only players that will be a free agent in July 2018 can be acquired.
Before the name "Nerlens Noel" even comes up, the nature of Noel's qualifying offer with Dallas works is that if the Mavs trade him, the acquiring team loses his Bird rights. They have no incentive then to trade for a player who they gain no advantage in signing this summer. For Boston, acting as an over-the-cap team into the next couple of summers, that is key. The compensation required to get Noel isn't worth a true three-month rental.
So what names are around and how might the Celtics best utilize this? Does it behoove them to wait until December 15th, when any player who signed a new contract this July becomes tradeable? Timing, teams looking to sell and the lack of marquee free agents worth the value that the DPE has in absorbing larger salary make it difficult to predict, but there are a few players that the Celtics could and should target...
PF Ed Davis or PF Noah Vonleh, Portland Trail Blazers
Portland has two big men that could help the Celtics with their interior presence, an area that the team lacked before the Hayward injury. Vonleh, a restricted free agent come year's end, would be an enticing piece due to his somewhat untapped potential, his ability to shoot the ball from distance and their ability to get a quality young player for a cheap price. Davis, a more experienced veteran, would be likely more available (or at least available cheaper).
Portland could get to the point where they require their young bigs space to play, so clearing one big in favor of another guard might be the way to go. If that's the case, Boston could offer up the right package to get the Blazers below the tax. From a pure financial perspective, these two teams seem like a match made in heaven, where a guy like Shane Larkin would head back to Portland in return.
PF Ersan Ilyasova or SG Marco Belinelli, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are rebuilding, so they have little incentive to retain either of these guys long-term. Both on expiring deals, Atlanta will want to play them early and maximize what they can get out of them on the trade market.
Boston could take either as a way of adding a little veteran experience and shooting before the postseason. Ilyasova is a stretch-shooting big man that struggles to defend on the perimeter and doesn't have a ton of "switchability" across matchups. That makes him a conceptually poor fit in Boston. Belinelli is a little better as a wing, but the price for acquiring him would be higher.
Realistically both these guys are backup options for the Celtics and will likely not become major targets until closer to the trade deadline.
SF Corey Brewer, Los Angeles Lakers
If we're thinking of only salary and position, then Brewer is a fit. A wing on an expiring deal that will likely get muscled out of the lineup in Los Angeles, the price of acquisition would be low for Brewer, too. That said, calling him decisively better than cheaper options on the free agent market is a stretch. Just because they have the DPE up to $8.4 million doesn't mean the Celtics need to spend all of it. They'll target the best player they can on this deal.
SG Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat
Miami has little incentive to move Ellington, but his salary and contract is a fit on the Celtics end. The Heat have a ton of players that are young and talented on the wings, many of whom may surpass Ellington in the rotation by the middle of the season. If that is the case, look for the Celts to be involved on the Philadelphia native for his hot-handed shooting.
F Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets
Hear me out on this one, because it could be plausible if certain dominos fall...
The Rockets are in dire need of another backcourt option. Chris Paul is banged up, and it's really just he, James Harden and Eric Gordon consistently back there. With the strong play of PJ Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute early in the season (on both ends of the ball) something may have to give in Houston to acquire quality backcourt play. Combine that with a slow start to the season for Ariza (shooting 22 percent only five-games in) and Houston may naturally supplant him anyway from their starting rotation.
Ariza, with a large salary and an expiring deal, may be a piece they end up moving. Houston is up against the luxury tax, something they'll badly want to dodge this season before they re-sign Chris Paul and the Harden mega-max extension kicks in. Eric Gordon won't get moved based on their roster needs, and Ryan Anderson is a contract too difficult to move. Ariza then would become the best shot they have at trimming costs while giving away a player worth a damn.
The deal with the Celtics would likely be a three-team deal, with Ariza going to Boston, the C's sending a future-second round pick to one other team and them sending a backup guard to the Rockets on a longer but less financially-burdensome contract (players like J.J. Barea or Shelvin Mack make sense).
Ariza would be a stretch-four for Boston that helps with their defense and corner shooting. They'd then have his Bird rights and be able to keep him as a backup on the cheap, adding to their wing depth moving forward.
F Gerald Green, free agent
Should the Celtics strike out on the trade market or decide continuity is best, Gerald Green would come in and be a solid free agent signing. Green was with the C's last year and did a good job as a change-of-pace scoring wing off the bench. Whenever he played, Green was attentive and a good veteran presence within the Boston locker room.
When used to lure in free agents, this DPE will be attractive since the Celts can offer more than the minimum, which most above-the-cap teams (as most who are in the playoff race usually are) are bound by. Green might desire a return to Boston, so there would be interest both ways, but certainly the Celtics would be foolish not to hang onto the exception a little longer and see if a higher-quality player is indeed available.
I'd be shocked to see Boston use this before December 15th. Even January 10th sounds like a reasonable date to wait until, as that's the date non-guaranteed contracts become fully guaranteed. If the Celts wait to see what guys get trimmed from rosters, they may find a more enticing option off the free agent market.
Presented without commentary...
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: 56-26
2. Washington Wizards: 51-31
3. Boston Celtics: 50-32
4. Toronto Raptors: 46-36
5. Miami Heat: 45-37
6. Milwaukee Bucks: 44-38
7. Charlotte Hornets: 41-41
8. Philadelphia 76ers: 37-45
9. Orlando Magic: 36-46
10. Detroit Pistons: 34-48
11. Indiana Pacers: 31-51
12. Brooklyn Nets: 30-52
13. New York Knicks: 25-57
14. Atlanta Hawks: 24-58
15. Chicago Bulls: 21-61
1. Golden State Warriors: 67-15
2. Houston Rockets: 59-23
3. San Antonio Spurs: 57-25
4. Oklahoma City Thunder: 56-26
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: 48-34
6. Portland Trail Blazers: 47-35
7. Denver Nuggets: 46-36
8. Los Angeles Clippers: 44-38
9. Memphis Grizzlies: 42-40
10. Utah Jazz: 40-42
11. New Orleans Pelicans: 38-44
12. Los Angeles Lakers: 36-46
13. Dallas Mavericks: 32-50
14. Sacramento Kings: 25-57
15. Phoenix Suns: 22-60
NBA Finals: Golden State over Cleveland, 4-2
MVP: Steph Curry, Golden State
Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia
Most Improved: Josh Richardson, Miami
6th Man: Greg Monroe, Milwaukee
Coach of the Year: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio
With the NBA being as crazy and frenzied as ever, we have our first trade "demand" scenario propping up in the first week. The Phoenix Suns, playing some of the worst defense imaginable, fired their head coach on the same day their best player tweeted "I don't want to be here" for the public to see. The next morning (today), that player was sent home and is being shopped imminently. It appears as if the Suns, looking to gut their losing culture and salvage what is left of some young talent before cracks form in the foundation, are going to send Bledsoe away.
There are obstacles to trying to trade any player at this time of year, regardless of talent. The first is that teams are in an evaluation period, not looking to shake up their roster before they know exactly what they have internally. Adding a piece as troubled and injury-prone as Bledsoe carries some level of risk if you are unsure of how good the pieces you're giving up are going to be. The second is the lack of need for a starting point guard around the league. And third is the fact that almost a third of the players in the league cannot be traded until December 15th since they inked new contracts this summer.
So where could Bledsoe plausibly land, and what are some of the best packages that could be put together? We'll take a look here.
Deal: Phoenix sends PG Eric Bledsoe and C Tyson Chandler for C Greg Monroe, C Thon Maker and PG Matthew Dellavedova
Right now it's important to note that the Suns are about $12.3 million under the cap, meaning they can absorb more salary in order to help a team land Bledsoe while also trimming their cap situation. That scenario may be the best one in which Phoenix recuperates a high-level draft pick. Dealing with Milwaukee, however, they may be able to shed some long-term salary and get a talented young piece back instead of that draft pick.
It's a scenario that makes too much sense to pass up. Chandler, on a two-year deal just as Bledsoe is, would reunite with Jason Kidd, the point guard that played with Tyson in Dallas when they won the 2011 NBA Championship. Giving up two centers in exchange for one may not seem too palatable for Bucks fans that are already short Jabari Parker, but the move would also open up a roster spot for Milwaukee to utilize.
The Bucks then would find themselves $3 million below the luxury tax with a small trade exception to use as well. Milwaukee is dangerously close to that luxury tax threshold now and wants to get beneath it, which is the onus for wanting to work a deal that would get Monroe off their books - he's an expiring they can unload to a team with cap space (Phoenix) while getting decent value in return.
Milwaukee giving up Thon Maker after once season sounds a little crazy, but it saves them tax money, gives them a legitimate point guard and perimeter threat and trims the team of a Dellavedova contract that's on the books for the next three years.
Phoenix gets probably the best young player they could squeeze out of this deal in Maker. Thon fits the type of style they want from their bigs – shooters that can defend multiple positions. They'd trim Monroe at the summer and next season, after the trade, save roughly $16 million. Of course the immediate logjam with Monroe, Maker and Len as centers is difficult to deal with, but it helps them get Bledsoe away immediately.
The Fan Favorite
Deal: Phoenix sends PG Eric Bledsoe for PG Emmanuel Mudiay and PF Kenneth Faried
Everyone seems to want Bledsoe in Denver due to their lack of point guard depth and the glut of big men they need to get rid of. Faried wants out and might be a culture game-changer in Phoenix. Mudiay offers the Suns a look at a young player with offensive potential that has been miscast as an off-ball slasher around Nikola Jokic.
Bledsoe could thrive in that role as a secondary playmaker, though he is one of the more underrated creators one-on-one in the league. A trio of him, Jokic and Millsap is a core that can do some damage out West, and they give up only minimal young pieces to make this work. Faried-for-Bledsoe keeps the cap situation stable, and actually opens up a tad more space while unloading Mudiay.
For Denver, making this move is about three things. First is the impact that Bledsoe can have on the court playing around their already-existing core. Second is their willingness to move on from Mudiay after a strong preseason. Third is the wonder of if they would have to throw in something else if a bidding war starts. Denver, sitting on some other young players and some future draft picks, could easily be swayed into throwing more into the pot for Bledsoe.
The consensus answer to all three seems to be a resounding yes, but we'll see what the organization is willing to do. They have a strong need at point guard and are ready to explode in a win-now type of way. The issue comes around the ante being upped by other teams and just how much the Nuggets would want to match. They don't appear to be in a position to absorb any salary from Phoenix's big men to help make a deal work.
The "We'll Place a Call and Hope for the Best" Group
New York Knicks
Deal: Knicks gets PG Eric Bledsoe and F Jared Dudley for PG Frank Ntilikina, C Willy Hernangomez, C Joakim Noah and a 2018 lottery protected first-round pick.
No way the Suns can soak Ntilikina out of the Knicks unless they agree to take on (and then subsequently buyout) Joakim Noah. It's not as one-sided as it seems, as the Suns would waive him and take on a large portion of that guaranteed salary over the next few years. We've seen reports about Ntilikina and Hernangomez being offered with a pick, but it only makes sense for the Knicks if they can unload Noah.
Phoenix would have the money to eat Noah's deal if they turn Bledsoe and Dudley into youngsters like Ntilikina and Hernangomez. And that pick, lottery protected then likely turning into two second-rounders (the Knicks have Chicago's highly-coveted second in 2018) is a good gamble for the Suns to make.
New York would simultaneously get a win-now point guard and commit to a smaller lineup with Porzingis at the 5 and shed themselves of the worst contract in basketball. It's a great gain for the franchise long-term financially, though the pain of giving up what could amount to back-to-back first-round picks isn't great for a rebuilding team.
Los Angeles Clippers
Deal: PG Eric Bledsoe for PG Patrick Beverley, F Wesley Johnson and a 2021 first-round pick
The Clippers realistically lack the assets to pull this trade off, but the unprotected first-rounder might be what gets this done. Bledsoe would be an upgrade from Beverley despite how godly he is on the defensive end. Bledsoe, Blake and DeAndre is a solid core, and it's the type of aggressive move the Clippers could make to help keep DeAndre happy and ready to remain a Clipper long-term.
But seeing Phoenix take this deal over many on the board would be a surprise. Of course the Clippers could load up more picks or another youngster just to sweeten the pot, but these are two odd trading partners despite the overtures made by DeAndre Jordan on Twitter.
Deal: PG Reggie Jackson to Phoenix for PG Eric Bledsoe
Straight up. My dead-beat point guard for yours. Little to no chance the Suns take this when other deals are on the table, and the Pistons don't have much incentive to throw in meaningful players or picks to make the deal happen. Sure a Bledsoe-Bradley backcourt is scary on defense, but does he really move the needle that far into making them a playoff contender?
On the flip side this is probably the lowest return Phoenix would get out of any of these scenarios. A worse player that is on a longer, more expensive deal that isn't much younger. The only interesting part here would be how willing the Pistons would be to try and sweeten the pot with a stretch big like Henry Ellenson... and how keen the Suns are to add another non-defensive player into their mix.
Deal: PG Eric Bledsoe for 2018 Brooklyn Nets 1st Round pick, C Ante Zizic and SG Iman Shumpert
Cleveland could get to the point where they have too many cooks in the kitchen. Imagine a team that has a playoff rotation of LeBron, D-Wade, Isaiah, Bledsoe, J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose... and that's not including their frontcourt. Serious chemistry and cohesion issues may happen as a result, which is why I'm not optimistic that the Cavs are a serious contender for Bledsoe despite their interest in the past.
Phoenix has little desire to do a deal like this, where they eat into their roster space and flexibility without taking a point guard of the future back. The only way they do is if they get that unprotected Nets pick and a youngster like Zizic or Osman. Still, this offer isn't as sweet as many of the others they may get.
The Dark Horse (and my personal favorite)
Deal: PG Eric Bledsoe and SG Troy Daniels to Orlando for SG Terrence Ross, PG Elfrid Payton and a the 2020 first-round pick from Oklahoma City
Phoenix needs talent, and this deal gives them the most talent across the board in multiple positions. In Payton they get an up-and-down but talented pass-first point guard that could make life a lot easier for their scorers like Devin Booker. He's arguably better than Reggie Jackson or Emmanuel Mudiay, other point guards mentioned in the trade list. As a restricted free agent, the Suns have the cap space remaining after this deal to match any offers he may receive next summer, and the added benefit of knowing the point guard free agent market will be a chilling one. If there's anything front offices learned this summer, it's to invest in restricted free agents you like because you'll be able to bargain shop with them next summer thanks to the lower-than-expected salary cap spike. Especially at point guard this is a huge plus.
Add with him a legitimate starting wing and another scorer to flank Booker with and the Suns now have some added shot-making on the perimeter to make the space work with Payton. And that 2020 pick from OKC is probably not a highly valuable one, but if you look at the trade market around (and other scenarios) not a lot of teams can throw some legitimate first-round picks their way. And with luxury tax issues in Oklahoma City, you never know how valuable that pick will become.
Orlando on the other hand ends their decade-long quest for a franchise point guard with this move, and while they give up a decent amount to get him, Frank Vogel finally has the defensive pieces he needs. A super-athletic Magic group, spearheaded by a starting backcourt of Bledsoe and Jonathon Simmons and flanked with Aaron Gordon at the 4, would be a nightmare for a lot of teams out East. On athleticism alone that team would vault itself high into the conversation for one of the last remaining playoff seeds.
For some reason I'm rooting for this deal to go down. I'd love to see Elfrid Payton in a lawless, push-tempo offense that gets others open shots. I'd love to watch Bledsoe and Aaron Gordon run the pick-and-roll, with Nikola Vucevic cleaning up down low. Somebody, please make this happen!
Training camp battles can show which players around the league may not be around their current team for much longer. Whether being squeezed out by younger talent or an expendable contract that the team may need for something elsewhere, a player in this league can begin to see the writing on the wall. Injuries may change the way these play out, but all things considered there are some safe bets for the trade market.
Here's a look at five players that may get dealt this season and where some of their best/ most likely trade partners or locations might be:
1. PF Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Faried stated at the beginning of training camp that he isn't a bench player, and it seems that his performance early in the preseason has echoed that sentiment. He's still a super-talented, hard-working post that fits an up-tempo scheme where he's surrounded by shooters. Denver has that, but as long as the minutes are difficult to come by, the fit doesn't really matter. With the Nuggets needs for another wing or two, trading a guy like Faried (with two years left on his deal) almost feels like a necessity.
Five likely landing spots:
1. Brooklyn Nets - Brooklyn is out of space to absorb deals, but has some bigger contracts they can trade and shed right away. Faried in their up-tempo system would be a great get for Atkinson. The issue is that DeMarre Carroll himself isn't good enough to trade straight up for the Manimal.
2. Phoenix Suns - Another team without a franchise center in the long-term (and a few names that may show up on this list later), the Suns should think about bringing in Faried and trying him as a center in their switch 1 thru 5 scheme.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves - If the Wolves can unload themselves of a few extra years of Gorgui Dieng's deal and get Faried instead, it might be the perfect fit between coach and player. Faried would still have to battle Taj Gibson for a starting role, though, and the four-years left on Dieng's deal are going to be tough to move.
4. Washington Wizards - Faried would make for the perfect backup big in D.C. and seeing him pair with John Wall would be spectacular. Logistically speaking, the Wizards would have to find a home for Ian Mahinmi to pull this off – an incredibly difficult task.
5. Chicago Bulls - Since Chicago has financial abilities to eat players' contracts and pick up picks from those desperate to unload players, their name will pop up a lot on this list. Faried isn't actually a bad pickup for them, especially if they continue to play a more up-tempo style that fits coach Fred Hoiberg's stylistic tendencies.
2. F Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns
Suns GM Ryan McDonough knows he'll field calls around the mid-season mark for both Dudley and C Tyson Chandler. A veteran like Dudley, who can defend the 3 and the 4 while shooting from deep, is a coveted asset, and Jared helps the locker room wherever he goes. He's also on a modest contract that declines in scale. His name will be mentioned frequently between January and February's trade deadline.
Five likely landing spots:
1. Toronto Raptors - This one almost feels too good to be true. The Raps don't have an experienced backup to Serge Ibaka and possess a trade exception that allows them to absorb Dudley. If the Raps are really going to keep up a modern offense all season, Dudley makes a ton of sense as an addition.
2. Milwaukee Bucks - Milwaukee has second-round picks aplenty to work with, and a Dudley upgrade over Mirza Teletovic may justify giving away one of them. It's not a great haul for Phoenix, but they could use the picks.
3. Philadelphia 76ers - We've mentioned the Suns as a team in the market for a franchise-caliber center, and the Sixers may be selling one in Jahlil Okafor. Depending on the health of Joel Embiid and Richaun Holmes, Philadelphia may be the right team to make a trade with.
4. Utah Jazz - At some point the experiment with Favors and Gobert playing together has to either yield great results or be abandoned. Before the Jazz let Favors walk away next summer, they could flip him to a team that would covet his Bird Rights, in exchange for a stretch-4 option like Dudley.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers - If the Cavs are certain LeBron will return next summer, trading Channing Frye for Jared Dudley might be the best upgrade they can make this winter. Dudley is a much better defender, and Cleveland has the trade exceptions to absorb the extra cost. For the extra year of money, it may be worth it.
3. G Marco Belinelli, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks seem like they're rebuilding, although you never tell fully can prescribe a team's outlook before Christmas. Should the Hawks be out of the picture, the veteran on a modest expiring contract could head to a contender looking to add some outside shooting – a skill that's always sought after around the deadline. If the Hawks are looking to get younger, they could give up Belinelli in exchange for some wing on a rookie deal.
Five likely landing spots:
1. Denver Nuggets - Denver needs another wing badly, and may have to cough up a first-round pick to somebody in order to find a team that will be able to eat some salary. Atlanta would willingly take that deal, likely eating Darrell Arthur and his player option for next season if it gets them a chance at even a protected first-rounder.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder - Atlanta would likely have to eat Kyle Singler to deal with OKC directly, but could be able to squeeze a first-round pick out of this somehow. Belinelli would be a huge addition for the Thunder bench, and the team would love to get a hold of his Bird rights.
3. Toronto Raptors - The Raptors would use their Cory Joseph trade exception to acquire Belinelli while also staying under the tax apron (they're hard-capped). This is a great deal for the Raptors, and would have to give up a pick in order to make it one for the Hawks, too.
4. New Orleans Pelicans - Hear me out on flipping Ian Clark for Belinelli. It's a good gamble for the Pels to take if they're in postseason mode; they don't have Clark's Bird rights, so retaining him and Cousins this summer is tough. By using Hield's exception, they could absorb Marco and would do so while barely trimming the luxury tax. That may be the best loot the Hawks get outside of a first-round pick.
5. Los Angeles Clippers - Spacing will be tight in Los Angeles, and their backs may be up against the wall next summer if many of their top guys opt out of player options and look for more money. One way to combat that: get rid of a guy like Wes Johnson in exchange for Belinelli, so the Clipps can get more flexibility. Oh yeah... that'll likely cost them a second-rounder, too.
4. PG JJ Barea, Dallas Mavericks
Dallas got their franchise point guard in the draft this year, and now is facing the task of retaining Seth Curry long-term. With two guards that are defensive liabilities in their long-term plans, Dallas may now have to break up the famed Barea-Dirk Pick-and-Roll. It's a great year to shop an experienced veteran at the point, as many teams may be looking for a backup in that spot.
Five likely landing spots:
1. Memphis Grizzlies - Barea would be a good get for the Grizzlies, who have a rather thin backcourt behind Mike Conley. They'd have to give up one of their youngsters (Deyonta Davis, Rade Zagorac, Wade Baldwin) to get him, but if the Grizz are knocking on the door of the postseason, it might be a good addition to make. Plus they've shown they're willing to part with young draft picks early if they disappoint.
2. Washington Wizards - The offense in Washington can be a little ball-dominant at times, with point guard pounding the rock and moving through ball screens. Barea is a great PnR operator, making him a natural insurance policy to John Wall. It might be worth giving up young European Tomas Satoransky for.
3. Charlotte Hornets - Similarly to Washington, Barea is a natural fit to replace Kemba Walker in Charlotte off the bench. The Hornets have an even more dire need for point guards than Washington, but they also don't have many assets to part with. The Hornets can will only find themselves in this race if they're knocking on the door of a solid playoff seed come February.
4. Detroit Pistons - Stan Van Gundy loves the spread pick-and-roll, and Barea is a natural fit to pick that up late in the season. If it costs the Pistons Reggie Bullock and a second-rounder to bump Ish Smith to third-string and give the Pistons an additional bench presence, this may be a solid move.
5. Houston Rockets - Insurance policy galore. Barea inside a D'Antoni scheme would produce off the bench, making him the right guy to target for Houston's thin backcourt depth. It may be worth giving up a guy like Zhou Qi or Chinanu Onuaku if it means propelling the Rockets above other teams atop the West.
5. C Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Is this the year the Sixers finally find a home for Okafor? He's seemingly been on the trading block since he was drafted, and yet scoring a lot as a rookie hasn't saved him. I wrote an extended piece about his trade stock these days, but here we'll dive more into the teams that may be clamoring for a shot at him. The Sixers will keep a high asking price, which hurts the ability to find a home for him.
Five likely landing spots:
1. Chicago Bulls - Okafor is from Chicago, and the Bulls right now are touting Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio as their top big men. The Bulls are kind of in no-man's land right now, but a team with Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Jahlil Okafor to build around? That could be an offensive dynamo.
2. Phoenix Suns - The Suns will appear on any list that could get them a franchise-caliber center. If the Suns find a team willing to take on Tyson Chandler, their next call could be to the Sixers to try and get Okafor. The Suns' biggest flaw: interior scoring, something Okafor would fulfill.
3. Boston Celtics - I hate that I'm putting this name here, but he's a guy that's come up a ton whenever the Sixers and Okafor are mentioned in trade ideas. Could and should are different discussions, and it's plausible that the Celtics could pull off a fair-value deal for Okafor.
4. Orlando Magic - Frank Vogel is more of a slow-down coach, and if the new Magic front office wants to conform to his desires, Okafor might make sense to pursue. What Orlando would give up that Philly would want, though, is an interesting dilemma.
5. Sacramento Kings - Who is the Kings' best center? Is Willie Cauley-Stein a guy they want to keep around long-term? Who is their best offensive player long-term? An Okafor-Labissiere tandem would be deadly down low, though a PG like De'Aaron Fox wouldn't mesh great with Jahlil.
Head Boys Basketball Coach, Boys' Latin School (MD).