PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most intriguing teams, if not the most intriguing team, to keep an eye heading into June 23rd's NBA Draft.
With the No. 1 overall pick, picks No. 24 and 26, a boatload cap space, the hopeful additions of injury-laden Joel Embiid and Turkish forward Dario Saric, and young talented big men in Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers have plenty of options --- or as Sam Hinkie (respect) would call it --- optionality.
ESPN NBA insider Chad Ford told 97.3 ESPN that there is a "very high likelihood" the Sixers trade Okafor or Noel and it's a little more likely to be Okafor.
"I think that there's a very high likelihood, that whether it's to move up in the draft or use them to grab a free agent in a sign and trade or just to a trade, that you will not see the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor pairing at the start of next season," Ford said via CSNPhilly.com. "I think that they'll gauge the interest of both players. I think that there might be a slight preference for Noel, to keep him around with the Sixers, and I think you might be right, there might be a slight, better value for Okafor out on the market, but I think everyone agrees that that combination of those two players doesn't necessarily work.
"The Sixers needs to pick up assets, especially if they're gonna go ahead and do a Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram with the first pick in the draft," Ford continued. "Then they're gonna need those assets to start to fill out their backcourt, because the 24th pick and [the 26th pick], you're not finding starters. I'm not even sure that you're necessarily finding rotation players at that back end of the draft that are gonna make big impact, so they're gonna have to do that via free agency or via trade, and I think either Okafor or Noel — I don't think they'll trade both — but one of those two is probably their best trade chip."
NBA reporter David Aldridge first put the wheels in motion for a draft-day Okafor trade earlier in the week, writing the 76ers "covet" another high first-round pick and have "strong support for Noel" within the organization.
The Celtics, one of a plethora of teams speculatively interested in Okafor, have picks No. 3, 16, and 23 in the first-round. The Celtics, reportedly, tried to acquire Okafor during last season's trade deadline.
"If I was Philadelphia, it would be done tomorrow," Ford said on a potential Okafor for the 3rd overall pick trade. "I don't know if Boston would do it, but for Philadelphia, 100 percent. That would allow them to actually I think bring in another guard, an elite guard, whether that's Kris Dunn or Jamal Murray, and suddenly now you've got a very, very bright future. I think that's an easy call for the Sixers if Boston would do it."
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