NBA trade rumors: Sixers are showcasing Jahlil Okafor as trade deadline nears

Philadelphia 76ers forward Nerlens Noel (4) and center Jahlil Okafor (8) celebrate a score against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Wells Fargo Center, Dec. 1, 2015. | Reuters/Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, Nerlens Noel was the odd man out. Joel Embiid has turned out to be the franchise player the Philadelphia 76ers have been looking for, and Jahlil Okafor wasn't going anywhere. Noel even racked up several DNP-CDs (did not play coach's decision), and if he does get on the court, he only gets to play limited minutes. It seemed almost certain that Noel days in Philadelphia were numbered.

But things can change really fast in the basketball world. Now, it's Okafor who's collecting the DNP-CDs, and reports say the Sixers have put him on the trading block. Okafor did play against the Washington Wizards and the Milwaukee Bucks, but's Keith Pompey has pointed out that it looked more like the team was showcasing him for a possible trade.

"How else can you explain Okafor getting the start when he hadn't played a single second in the previous four games? How else can you explain his playing the entire fourth quarter of a blowout loss? How else can you explain coach Brett Brown's stressing that Okafor is an "NBA starter," saying after the game that he could have scored "30 [points] in a heartbeat?" Pompey said in his piece about Okafor.

Those are actually very good points. The Sixers strongly believe that Noel is better suited to play backup for Embiid because of his defensive skills. Okafor may be a gifted low-post scorer, but he's a defensive sieve. He may be 6'11", but he happens to be a weak rebounder.

Of course, the problem with trading Okafor is that it's going to difficult to get equal value in return. The Sixers actually won a number of games with Okafor sitting on the bench, and his value has never been lower. He has already collected a number of DNP-CDs, and the other NBA teams are going to see it as a sign that the Sixers can't wait to unload him.

Right now, Okafor's status with the team is up in the air. However, the trade deadline is approaching, and the Sixers will have to decide his fate.