Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Center Al Horford said Boston’s guards have taken great pride in swarming the perimeter, and they welcomed the new challenge. In this game, the defense was just as active and annoying as it has been all season, allowing Orlando to make just 6 of 29 attempts (20.7 percent), as the Celtics rolled to a 104-88 win.
Page 2: Where Danny Ainge Holds Firm on Jahlil Okafor Trade Talks
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers might disagree on the value of Jahlil Okafor.
The Celtics have expressed plenty of interest in the Sixers big man, who wants out of Philly no matter what it takes. Philly appears willing to accommodate Okafor’s request, but it’s possible the price it has in mind won’t resonate with Boston, according to the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
“The Celtics have long held interest in Okafor, but as more of a project than an immediate contributor,” Washburn reported Saturday. “Boston is also not willing to part with a first-round pick for Okafor.”
Washburn didn’t specify whether the Sixers actually have requested a first-round pick for Okafor, or which of Boston’s first-round picks — it has several future first-rounders from other teams — they would want.
Still, considering Okafor was the third-overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and is just 21 years old, it’s pretty crazy to think a team isn’t willing to part with a first-rounder to obtain him.
Jahlil Okafor cannot escape the Boston headlines. While he hasn’t come close to living up to pre-draft expectaions, and he’s on track to becoming a bust, the Celtics have always been interested in acquiring the 7-footer… depending on the price.
The Celtics almost traded for him two years ago at the deadline and again during the draft. At the time, some even suggested trading the 2016 number three pick (Jaylen Brown) for Okafor, which would have been a disaster.
His value has since plummeted, and the Sixers will unlikely get a first rounder from any team, let alone the Celtics. Danny Ainge should not budge. The whole league knows Okafor doesn’t wanna be there and Philadelphia has no need for his skillset. Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo declined Okafor’s fourth year player-option — an unprecedented move on a former top-3 pick.
The Celtics (I’d imagine) are hoping to get him for nothing. If another team overpays, whatever, but if the sixers buy him out, Boston can outbid other teams with its $8.3 million exception from Hayward’s injury.
There are countless red flags with Okafor. He has poor lateral quickness. He hasn’t shown any defensive promise. He’s a traditional big stuck in a changing NBA, and it seems like his breed is getting phased out.
Regardless, I’d love to see him in green (for the right price, of course). Long 7-footers with skill don’t grow on trees. He’s playing behind Joel Embiid and Philly has consistently put him in a bad situation to develop.
Additionally, the Celtics could use some youth in their big-man rotation. Their guards and wings are loaded with young talent, but they’re missing a big guy who can join that core. In Okafor, they’d be buying low on a former blue-chip prospect. His post-up offense is alreadly advanced, and if the Celtics could turn him into an average defender, it’ll be another fleecing by Danny Ainge.
Related: NBC Sports
Danny Ainge doesn’t tweet often, but last night, he gave us a peek into Gordon Hayward’s recovery.
Danny’s been the Celtics GM for almost 15 years, but he apparently still can’t turn on the lights at the practice facility. It’s good to know a broken leg isn’t affecting Hayward’s shooting form.
The Rest of the Links:
Boston Globe: Coach Vogel Offers Stevens Advice on Hayward
MassLive: Marcus Morris Enters Starting Lineup