Report: 76ers may have sidelined Jahlil Okafor just to generate trade interest

Apparently, Sam Hinkie’s departure didn’t mean the Philadelphia 76ers were done with unconventional methods.

Bryan Colangelo and the current front office are quickly becoming the butt of this trading season after a strange few days for one of its young big men.

Now, Jahlil Okafor is twisting in the wind and probably wondering where his career is best served going forward.

After being sat out Saturday against Miami and left home for Monday’s win at Charlotte, Okafor is apparently joining the 76ers in Boston for Wednesday’s game against the Celtics.

Going into Monday, 76ers coach Brett Brown explained the move was a prudent one with Okafor’s interests — and value to the team, of course — in mind.

“Jahlil Okafor’s situation is transparent,” Brown said Monday. “He’s in the middle of being discussed in trade scenarios.”

However, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer is reporting Okafor may have instead been held out to ignite trade scenarios.

O’Connor cites sources as saying the 76ers had trade talks with the New Orleans Pelicans that more or less hit a dead end. Reported interest the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets was overblown, and the 76ers were just playing their hand, the story goes.

The team reversed course and brought Okafor to Boston for Wednesday’s game.

There, Okafor admitted he is somewhat surprised to be back with the 76ers.

A second-year player out of Duke, Okafor was drafted third overall in 2015 by Philadelphia. In 90 career games, he is averaging 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

His value in today’s NBA has been a bit of a lightning rod, as Kyle Wagner of fivethirtyeight.com writes. With the penchant for 3-point shooting and more intelligent ways of looking at defense, is there much value for a strictly low-post scorer, as Okafor has been early in his career?

The NBA trade deadline is February 23. So we could find out soon.

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