For much of this season, many have wondered about the fate of Philadelphia 76ers big man Jahlil Okafor, who has been stashed on the bench by coach Brett Brown.
A former high draft pick, Okafor has fallen out of favor in Philadelphia and the team was trying to trade him.
On Thursday, the Sixers finally found a trade partner, sending Okafor and Nik Stauskas to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for forward Trevor Booker.
After learning of his teammate's trade, Sixers star Joel Embiid shared the message he sent to Okafor. Knowing Embiid, it's no surprise that the message to his former teammate was both heartwarming and contained a bit of trash talk, as you can see in the video below:
“Love you. New beginnings. Love you,” Embiid said of what he told Okafor. “Good luck. And I made sure to let him know that I was gonna kick his ass on the Nets.”
The Nets and Sixers play four times a year, so Embiid will get to see Okafor on the court a lot over the course of this season and the next few seasons. And, for Okafor, hopefully he'll actually get to see the court when the two teams play.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said he's excited to see what Okafor and Stauskas can do in Brooklyn, saying they have a chance to succeed in the Nets' system (via ESPN.com):
"This trade provides us with a good opportunity to bring in two young players who were high picks in recent drafts and give them a chance to succeed in our system,'' Marks said in a statement.
How much playing time Okafor receives remains to be seen, but it's sure to be more than he got in Philly.
Brown said he doesn't have regrets about how Okafor's Philly tenure played out, but did say it was disappointing how things ended:
"I wouldn't say there's regrets. I'd say there's human disappointment,'' Brown said. "We went through a lot together while he was here.''
At this point, it's best for both parties to simply move on, as a change of scenery could be exactly what Okafor needs.
Meanwhile, the Sixers added a veteran forward in Booker, who is currently averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Brown said he's excited to have Booker in Philly:
"There is a level of toughness and versatility that interests me,'' Brown said. "He's shown that he can play, handle not [playing] and be good people and handle himself like a pro.''
This could be a rare trade that works out for both sides, as the Nets are getting a high-upside player in Okafor and the Sixers are getting a steady veteran presence in Booker.