Give and Go: Individual matchups on road trip

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Give and Go: Individual matchups on road trip

Each week, we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our resident basketball analysts and see what they have to say.

Running the Give and Go this week are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Dei Lynam, CSNPhilly.com columnist John Gonzalez and CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.

What individual matchup will be most intriguing on the Sixers' West Coast swing?

Lynam
When the Sixers play in Denver on New Year’s Day, I will be anxious to see Michael Carter-Williams match up with Nuggets starting point guard Ty Lawson. Neither player took part in Denver’s 103-92 win over the Sixers on Dec. 7. Lawson has since returned from a hamstring injury and MCW is no longer dealing with a sore right knee.

These two players have similar numbers. Lawson averages 17.4 points and 7.9 assists. Carter-Williams averages 17.6 points and 7.8 assists. Lawson has 90 total rebounds and Carter-Williams has 93, but the rookie has played nine fewer games. The one significant difference is in height with Lawson measuring in at 5-11 and Carter-Williams at a lanky 6-foot-6.

Gonzalez
Looking forward to watching MCW play against Damian Lillard. Lillard was the Rookie of the Year last season. Carter-Williams could earn that honor this season. Should be an excellent individual matchup.

Haughton
It might not be the best matchup since it may not take place that often throughout the game, but things certainly should be interesting when Evan Turner finds himself across from former Sixer Nick Young. Turner is having his best season as a pro by far and "Swaggy P" is in the early conversation for Sixth Man of the Year in his first season playing for his hometown Lakers. With both players having an aggressive mentality on offense, things definitely have the potential to turn into a one-on-one event when they cross paths.

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

The Bulls are apparently still after Jahlil Okafor.

Chicago has continued its trade push for the Sixers’ big man, according to a report Wednesday night by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In early February, the Bulls inquired about Okafor, according to a report by CSNChicago.com.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline nearing, the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ possible trade of Okafor, who will get moved” by the mandatory cutoff date, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge on Tuesday.

The Sixers already have one trade nearly completed. They are currently finalizing a deal that will send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato on Wednesday night (see story).

With Okafor, aside from the Bulls, other teams have reportedly expressed interest in the second-year center, including the Pacers, Blazers and Pelicans (who are expected to be out of the running after landing DeMarcus Cousins).

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season over 38 contests. Last season, he played 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds.

The 21-year-old has taken all the trade buzz in stride.

“Trade rumors are something that’s going to be part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA," Okafor said on Feb. 4 after the Bulls’ reported interest originally surfaced. "I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about me being traded. I just try to focus on what I can. That’s being here on this team and trying to help this team win.”

Sources: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Splitter, 2nd-round picks

Sources: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Splitter, 2nd-round picks

Updated: 9:45 p.m.

Ersan Ilyasova’s time with the Sixers is over after just 53 games.

The Sixers will send Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for big man Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks, according to league sources. The Sixers have not determined if they are going to keep Splitter or waive him, as they have done with previous trades. Splitter’s contract will expire after this season. 

Looking at the two picks, the Sixers will receive the Heat’s 2017 second-rounder. In addition, they will have rights to a pick swap of the Hawks’ 2017 second-round pick and the least favorable of the Jazz’s four second-round picks. That pick is between the Jazz, Knicks, Pistons and Warriors, and will most likely result in the Warriors’ selection at 60. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported the trade. 

Ilyasova has an expiring contract. Instead of letting it run out and getting nothing in return, the Sixers added to their mounting stockpile of picks. These picks will be important to keep in mind should the Sixers look to make a deal before the draft. 

The Sixers acquired Ilyasova in November from the Thunder for Jerami Grant. The ninth-year veteran added instant leadership and accountability, both in practices and in games, which was needed upon the retirement of Elton Brand. 

Ilyasova also served as a go-to for rookie Dario Saric. Not only do they play the same position, Ilyasova could help him navigate his first season in the league after a career in Europe. Ilyasova’s departure creates the opportunity for Saric to step back into the starting power forward role. Saric is averaging 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds off the bench in his last 10 games.

Ilyasova quickly fit into the Sixers’ system upon being traded, scoring 21 points against the Cavaliers in his second game. He seamlessly slid into the starting lineup while Saric was moved to the second unit as he learned the NBA. Ilyasova ranked second on the team in scoring (14.3 points) and third in rebounds (5.9). He led the Sixers with 46 games in double-figure scoring (including 12 of 20-plus) and 10 double-doubles. 

Ilyasova struggled as of late, though. This month, his shooting percentage dropped to 35.6 from the field (the first month below 40 percent) and 23.4 from three-point range. He scored a combined 10 points in the Sixers’ final two games before the All-Star break, going 4 for 16 from the field and 1 for 7 from three. 

“I am not going to say it’s just because of free agency,” Ilyasova said last week (see story). “You have 82 games, you can’t play perfect. Sometimes you have good games and bad games. Last week, I was kind of out of rhythm and missed a lot of shots.”

After playing his first seven NBA seasons with the Bucks, the Hawks are now Ilyasova’s fifth team in two seasons.

Like Ilyasova, the 6-foot-11 Splitter is a veteran with international experience. Splitter, 32, is in his seventh NBA season. He has been sidelined all season, though, by calf and hip injuries. On the day of the trade, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported his return “is not imminent” but the Hawks did not expect him to miss the entire season. 

Splitter most recently averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.1 minutes for the Hawks last season. 

Brett Brown is very familiar with Splitter. He was on the Spurs’ coaching staff when Splitter began playing for the team in 2010. Splitter spent his first five seasons in San Antonio before being traded to the Hawks in 2015. 

There could be more moves on the horizon for the Sixers. Wojnarowski also reported the Bulls are continuing to push for a Jahlil Okafor trade (see story).

The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m.