With just hours to go until the NBA Draft, the Sixers trade rumors are ramping up. The club is said to be in hot pursuit of the third-overall pick currently owned by the Boston Celtics, presumably with Providence point guard Kris Dunn in mind there.
But what will it cost? And might a better deal be out there if they look elsewhere?
ESPN's Marc Stein reported the best offer Boston had received from any suitor for No. 3 was Sixers big Jahlil Okafor. Apparently that wasn't enough however, as Stein goes on to say the Celtics actually want more for the pick.
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While the Celtics' asking price may sound prohibitive, Stein also reports the Sixers were increasing their efforts to move up to three. Furthermore, he mentions no team has been more active in trade discussions and called an eventual deal involving teammae and fellow center Nerlens Noel "more and more likely."
This of course all falls in line with Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo admitting he would like to get back into the top eight, previous reports that either Okafor or Noel or both are on the block and rumblings that the organization really likes Dunn.
It's all very exciting — and a little scary at the same time.
As somebody who's in favor of trading Okafor, obviously there's risk in sending a potential perennial 20-10 player to a division rival. Initially, there was a feeling the Sixers could get more from the Celtics, not the other way around, but it seems the tide has shifted.
If it's Noel to Boston instead — and whether that might be the case isn't entirely clear — a larger package from the Sixers' end certainly makes sense. There's been a ton of noise about Okafor-to-the-Celtics though, going all the way back to the February trade deadline.
As Stein notes, the Sixers have been very aggressive, so the Celtics aren't necessarily the only partner to consider. One possible dream scenario could involve the Phoenix Suns, who hold the fourth-overall selection.
While there is nothing specific connecting the Suns to either Okafor or Noel, the team is trying to make moves of its own. According to Stein, the Suns are determined to trade either Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight, a pair of guards who would look good in a Sixers uniform.
Could a package of Okafor and Sixers draft picks for No. 4 and either Bledsoe or Knight work for both sides?
We're merely speculating, and even then, there are potential issues — such as Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting the Celtics have eyes on Dunn at three. Of course, that could be posturing. Besides, Kentucky guard Jamal Murray or Oklahoma point man Buddy Hield wouldn't exactly be terrible consolation prizes, either.
The only thing that would surprise at this point is if the Sixers select Ben Simmons No. 1 then go quietly into the night without some kind of trade. Maybe it's unfair to expect so much going in to draft night, but where there's smoke, there's usually fire.