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Report: 76ers, Pelicans in ‘serious talks’ about Jahlil Okafor trade

Jahlil Okafor could be headed to the Big Easy.

The Philadelphia 76ers are engaged in serious trade talks to send the center to the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports.

It’s believed the Sixers, who’ve discussed a deal involving the sophomore big man with eight teams, want a future first-round pick in return. They could fetch that, plus big man Alex Ajinca from New Orleans.

The 76ers have a glut of talented young bigs between Okafor, Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Richaun Holmes, whom they acquired via the draft over the years as a result of tanking “The Process.” Okafor and Noel’s names have both been floated in trade rumors.

Related: Bulls reportedly interested in trading for 76ers’ Okafor

The team has been playing better over the past month than it has in years, and is 10-8 in 2017. Brett Brown’s men have been jelling, with Noel and Holmes emerging as better fits within the system to back up Embiid than Okafor.

For their part, the Pelicans have been looking to improve the supporting cast around All-Star Anthony Davis, with a focus on landing a center who better complements him. Omer Asik isn’t cutting it, so the team is trying to unload his contract – which has three years and about $33.9 million remaining – per sources of The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

New Orleans has also reportedly looked into making a move for Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez. It would rather give up its first-rounder in 2018 than this year, and seeks lottery protection regardless.

Despite expressing a preference to play at the four-spot, Davis has played 73 percent of his minutes this season at center. Adding Okafor should allow him to get his wish.

The 22-year-old is averaging 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game over his two seasons in Philly.

The trade deadline is on Feb. 23.

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