The Philadelphia 76ers re-signed 37-year-old forward Elton Brand to a one-year deal on Wednesday. The franchise already had a logjam in the frontcourt, though Brand is more likely to serve as a mentor than a rotation player on the young roster.
Nonetheless, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports’ The Vertical says at least one of Philadelphia’s other big men, Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, could be on their way out of town before long.
The 76ers have had periodic trade talks this summer involving Noel and Okafor and plan eventually to move one of them. Philadelphia apparently does not believe that the tandem’s talents are complementary.
There have been rumors of potential Noel and Okafor trades since the end of last season, though nothing has materialized as of yet. With the likes of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric all coming into the fold next season, it us no surprise that the franchise wants to shed some talent up front.
Noel, the more defensive-minded of the two, has averaged 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in his first two NBA seasons. He was drafted sixth overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013, only to be shipped to Philadelphia shortly thereafter in exchange for guard Jrue Holiday. Noel missed all of the 2013-2014 season after recovering from an ACL tear suffered during his lone collegiate season at Kentucky.
The 76ers then made Okafor the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 53 games as a rookie, the former Duke Blue Devil was the franchise’s leading scorer en route to scoring 17.5 points per game, though he struggled defensively.
Spacing with Noel and Okafor on the floor together is an issue, as neither player tends to operate much outside the paint. The 76ers went just 10-72 last season, good for the second-worst 82-game record in NBA history.