PHILADELPHIA — Buried on the bench in Philly, Jahlil Okafor has a chance to prove in Brooklyn he’s not a bust.
Okafor got his wish when the Philadelphia 76ers finally traded the No. 3 overall pick of the 2015 draft to the Brooklyn Nets. The deal ends the stalemate that had kept Okafor on the bench for all but two games this season.
Once a prized piece of The Process, Okafor rapidly fell out of favor with the rise of star center Joel Embiid.
“Love you. New beginnings,” Embiid said he texted Okafor. “Good luck. And I made sure to let him know I was going to kick his (rear).”
Team president Bryan Colangelo said he reached a deal with a team he declined to name to trade Okafor last season until it fell apart at the last minute. That led to an awkward situation where Okafor didn’t even travel with the team during the trade deadline. Okafor led the Sixers in scoring as a rookie with Embiid out with injuries. Okafor played 55 games last season and never really meshed with the franchise center. Okafor started piling up DNP-CDs and those stretched into this season, where the Sixers will chase a playoff berth without him.
“He can go play basketball again,” coach Brett Brown said.
The Sixers also sent seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and a 2019 second-round pick to the Nets for forward Trevor Booker. Booker, the 23rd overall pick of the 2010 draft by Washington, averaged 10.1 points with the Nets.
“There is a level of toughness and versatility that interests me,” Brown said. “He’s shown that he can play, handle not play and be good people and handle himself like a pro.”
Okafor gave the Sixers plenty of headaches in his rookie season out of Duke …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun-Times – Sports