1. Philadelphia 76ers
Given the Suns’ reported interest in Jahlil Okafor and the Philadelphia 76ers‘ ongoing quest to get something for their former No. 3 overall pick before caving on a buyout, this might make too much sense to not happen:
Future second round pick
Suns fans probably won’t be overly excited by this one, but it’s probably the most realistic scenario on the list, and even better, the only potential deadweight contract to be found here would be if Phoenix chooses to invest in a 21-year-old free agent with serious scoring ability and a desperate need of a change of scenery.
Typically, that last part has been used to describe players leaving Phoenix, so it’d be nice to see someone have a chip on their shoulder while playing for the Suns rather than after leaving them behind. You can be guaranteed Okafor would produce (on the offensive end, at least) for a Suns team that has an unstable long-term outlook at center and needs scoring help for Booker and Warren.
Sure, there’d be a temporary logjam at the 5-spot between Chandler, Len and Okafor, but again, Chandler is on the trade block and it still doesn’t seem like Len is doing enough to secure the big payday he’s looking for from Phoenix.
If that continues to be the case, using Monroe’s contract to take a flier on Okafor’s potential is worth a shot. A lot has been made of his poor defense, work ethic and his disgruntled attitude, but seriously, after all it’s been through over the last seven years what does Phoenix have to lose?
They get Monroe off the books at the cost of a second round pick (sorry Philly, even with Phoenix’s plethora of extra draft picks, Okafor’s value is tanked so far that a first-rounder just isn’t happening), they take a flier on a young player with potential who fits #TheTimeline, and if he doesn’t pan out or becomes a locker room problem, they simply let him walk in free agency in nine months and bask in the glow of extra cap space.
For the Sixers, they get a negative locker room presence out of the way, they nab an extra second-rounder, they bolster their frontcourt with a player capable of contributing to their playoff push and they can easily cut ties this summer to preserve flexibility. This move makes sense for both sides, even with the obvious drawback that neither fanbase will be happy about it.