All indications from the Los Angeles Lakers front office have suggested that the team does not plan to trade the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a recent radio interview that selecting a player with the pick "is our intention at this time," but such comments still have yet to dissuade speculation that the team will move the pick.
One possibility that hasn't been mentioned a lot previously is the possibility of Los Angeles looking to trading the pick for Philadelphia 76ers forward Jahlil Okafor. The recently named All-Rookie First Team member had an up and down debut season in which he averaged 17.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game on 50.8 percent shooting, but struggled mightily on defense and got into trouble off the court several times.
In a Twitter question and answer session on Friday morning, Chad Ford of ESPN reported that the Lakers might consider moving their first round pick in exchange for Okafor:
The deal in the question asked to Ford was Okafor and Los Angeles' 2017 pick for the second selection, giving the Sixers both the first and second picks in the 2016 NBA Draft and the Lakers a prospect they reportedly "loved." So why is it unlikely to happen?
The first and most obvious reason is that it's unclear whether a combination of Okafor and wherever the Lakers' 2017 pick ends up is actually more valuable than whoever the Lakers would select second overall. Both Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons (Los Angeles' two most likely selections in that spot) would seem to fit better in the modern NBA than the throwback post game of Okafor. Philadelphia's forward also raises similar fit issues alongside Julius Randle that Simmons does, seemingly without as high upside.
The Lakers will also presumably be better next year, so it's unclear where that draft pick will fall. While it would be great for the team to own that asset, Simmons or Ingram still may be more valuable.
Further reasoning is that no matter how much the Lakers "loved" Okafor in the last draft, they chose not to select him when they went with D'Angelo Russell. They could still value him higher than players in this draft, but it's worth noting that when last given the opportunity to acquire Okafor the front office passed.
Lastly and most obviously, crazy blockbuster draft deals like this almost never happen. So while it apparently is a possibility the team could make such a move, it's probably not worth anyone holding their breath over.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly assumed that the pick in question was the 17th overall pick in the 2016 Draft, not the Lakers own 2017 selection back. We have corrected and regret the error.
All stats per NBA.com. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.