Sources: Pelicans talking trade with Sixers for Jahlil Okafor

ByMarc Stein and Marc J. Spears ESPN logo
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to bolster their frontcourt and are in advanced talks with the Philadelphia 76ers to acquire big man Jahlil Okafor, according to league sources.

Sources told that the teams were still negotiating Monday in an attempt to complete the trade.

If the sides agree to go through with a trade, sources said, New Orleans is expected to send backup center Alexis Ajinca and a future first-round pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Okafor.A source told ESPN's Justin Verrier that a 2018 first-rounder is being discussed.

No deal, though, had been agreed to as of Monday afternoon.

Philadelphia, sources said, is seeking at least one future first-round pick in exchange for Okafor, who was selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft but has been on the trading block for months -- along with fellow Sixers center Nerlens Noel -- as a result of the Sixers' glut of big men.

Fellow lottery picks Joel Embiid and Dario Saric have had strong rookie seasons in Philadelphia, which has increased the likelihood that either Okafor or Noel would be dealt before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

The Pelicans have previously pursued centers such as Milwaukee's Greg Monroe and Brooklyn's Brook Lopez in search of an offensive-minded frontcourt sidekick to star big manAnthony Davis.

"Obviously, at this time of the year all the GMs are talking," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Monday night. "In that situation right there it's best that you guys ask Dell [Demps]. I don't want to get misquoted or anything. Like I said, all the GMs are talking back and forth."

USA Today was the first to report Monday that the Pelicans and Sixers were talking about an Okafor trade.

Ajinca, 28, has played just three minutes since Dec. 26, when the Pelicans turned to small ball with Davisand Terrence Jones logging most of their minutes at center.

"I feel like I need to play," Ajinca said. "That's one of the major keys. If my time is up here, then it is. Then we'll see. I'm not controlling anything, so we'll see. We'll see if something happens today or in the next few days. I'm ready for whatever."

Okafor was back in the Sixers' starting lineup Monday after missing Saturday night's game at Miami with right knee soreness.

When asked about the trade rumor following the team's 111-106 win over the Suns, Davis said simply, "Whatever happens, happens."

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