If the reports are accurate, Bryan Colangelo probably made the right decision not trading Jahlil Okafor last week.
After the Pelicans acquired DeMarcus Cousins early Monday morning in a shocking, post-All-Star Game blockbuster, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported several interesting pieces of information regarding the Sixers.
"The Pelicans were very close on a deal for Jahlil Okafor about 10 days ago, offering a similar package except it didn't include [Buddy] Hield," Shelburne wrote.
A few hours earlier, she reported on ESPN that the deal for Okafor would have netted the Sixers Tyreke Evans, a protected first-round pick and a future second-round pick from New Orleans.
The protection the Pelicans sought was heavy — they wanted top-20 protection, according to Shelburne.
That just isn't a meaningful enough return, even for a player without a role in Philly.
• Evans is a free agent after the season who has had three knee surgeries in the last two years and can't shoot threes.
• A second-round pick is just a sweetener, so moving on from that ...
• A top-20 protected first-round pick isn't that enticing at all. Of the players selected between 20 and 30 in the last draft, only Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Toronto's Pascal Siakam and San Antonio's Dejounte Murray even have roles.
In the previous year's draft, the best picks between 20-30 were Bobby Portis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
The year before, Rodney Hood and Clint Capela panned out for their teams, but the eight others selected in that range have done little.
This sort of trade might have worked for the Sixers if they weren't already accumulating some roster depth. They don't need to go search for another late-first-round pick they can hopefully turn into the eighth or ninth guy in a rotation. With players developing like T.J. McConnell, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes and Nik Stauskas, the Sixers are already building a decent second unit for the future.
There are a lot of people in this city ready to give Okafor away, but doing so just makes no sense for the Sixers. All it would solve is the center logjam and awkwardness, but the value in that New Orleans proposal just wasn't there for the Sixers.
At this point, it's looking extremely unlikely Okafor is traded before the Feb. 23 deadline. The Blazers were interested but acquired Jusuf Nurkic from Denver instead. The Pelicans were interested but landed Cousins.
The only team left we've heard connected to Okafor is the Bulls, who don't have much of intrigue to send the Sixers' way.
But still, hanging on to Okafor and trading him after the season, or on draft night, could yield the Sixers a better return than New Orleans was offering. Forget about Evans and forget about the second-round pick — that offer was basically a pick in the 20-30 range for Okafor.
The Sixers held out in hopes of New Orleans' making the pick top-10 protected or lottery-protected instead, but Pels GM Dell Demps knew the Sixers didn't have much leverage and thought to himself, "If I'm trading away a potentially valuable draft pick, I want a better player in return."
And so he got Cousins. That's how we ended up where we are today.
The Sixers' future is brighter because their pick swap with the Kings now holds more value, so last night was a win for them even though Okafor remains on the roster.