It is obvious that Jahlil Okafor is not part of the Philadelphia 76ers’ future.
Inexplicably behind veteran Amir Johnson on the depth chart and completely out of coach Brett Brown’s rotation, Okafor has played in just one game this year, posting 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 22.0 minutes against the Toronto Raptors on October 21.
At just 21 years old, the 6’11”, 260 pound center is in his third NBA season and has had an odd career path so far.
In his rookie campaign, he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per contest. While he was limited to 53 games due to injury and led a generally talentless squad around him, his numbers indicated that he had a bright future with the organization.
However, due in part to Joel Embiid’s presence last season, Okafor averaged just 22.7 minutes in his 50 games played, posting 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest. He was benched completely at various points of the year and fell in and out of Brown’s rotation.
This season, as noted above, his role is simply non-existent.
Therefore, in an attempt to gain a chance somewhere else, he recently asked the team to buy out the rest of his contract so that he could sign elsewhere.
However, that apparently won’t be happening.
“After the Philadelphia 76ers rejected center Jahlil Okafor's request to enter into contract buyout discussions, general manager Bryan Colangelo continues to work to accommodate Okafor with a trade,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday.
While it seems obvious that many teams would be interested in landing a 21-year-old who averaged 17.5 points as a teenager in the NBA, a deal has not yet been made for whatever reason.
It’s not like the asking price is too high. Wojnarowski detailed exactly what the team may be looking for in return for the big man.
“Colangelo has remained determined to find an Okafor trade that will bring the Sixers back an asset, but the Sixers ultimate deal point could be centered on future second-round draft picks,” his sources told him.
Second-round picks for the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 Draft? That seems like a pretty low price to pay for Okafor’s potential. The Phoenix Suns are one of the teams interested in him, due to the presumed roster space that an Eric Bledsoe trade might create for them. The Boston Celtics are also rumored to be interested.
On Thursday morning, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Isaiah Thomas tweeted out his support of Okafor, blasting the 76ers organization for their unwillingness or inability to trade him to a better situation.
Although his contract won’t be bought out, Okafor will likely be moved sooner rather than later, especially since the team declined his option for next season already.