Sixers trade Okafor to Brooklyn in deal that sends Booker to Philly


Sixers trade Okafor to Brooklyn in deal that sends Booker to Philly

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 with his off-court conduct, which included his role in Boston street fight that earned him TMZ scrutiny and a two-game suspension.

He was widely mocked last year for a lackadaisical defensive effort where he stood still and failed to contest shots in a game against Miami.

"I think like anybody that comes into our organization, we need to defend the basketball," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I think that will be a challenge for both of them. We need those guys to be two-way players."

Under former general manager Sam Hinkie, the Sixers orchestrated a plan to strip the roster of talent to gobble draft picks that could turn into future rotation players. Accused of tanking, the Sixers went 18-64 in 2014-15 and earned the No. 3 pick. They landed a flop instead of a future star. Okafor not only dropped behind Embiid on the depth chart, but this year was demoted behind Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson.

"It's not easy to take a guy that was drafted third in the draft, after all the pain and strife that this organization and fan base went through, to just move away," Colangelo said.

Colangelo had no ties to Okafor and there was no secret of his desire to move him. Okafor played in 105 games (81 starts) with the Sixers and averaged 14.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 26.2 minutes while shooting 51.0 percent from the field

"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."

The Nets also requested waivers on guard Sean Kilpatrick. Atkinson said he was ready to help the two former first-rounders find success with the rebuilding Nets.

"I think they're coming into a strong locker room," Atkinson said.

"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," Nets general manager Sean Marks said.

Booker was ready for a fresh start in Philly.

"It's been real Brooklyn . Will always have nothing but love for you. Loved my time in New York!!!" Booker tweeted Thursday night. "Philly what it do ?"

Report: Celtics unwilling to part with first-rounder for Okafor

Report: Celtics unwilling to part with first-rounder for Okafor

The Celtics have long been rumored to have an interest in acquiring 76ers big man Jahlil Okafor. Now, with Okafor wanting out in Philly and the Sixers shopping him, the Celtics are unwilling to part with a first-round pick to get him, the Boston Globe reported.


In Gary Washburn's Sunday NBA notes, he writes that a first-round pick is seen as too steep a price for the Celtics to pay for a player who'll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer:

Philadelphia does not want to buy out his contract and then watch him sign with a conference rival with no compensation. The Celtics have long held interest in Okafor, but as more of a project than an immediate contributor. Boston is also not willing to part with a first-round pick for Okafor.

The Celtics have the room to acquire a player now that the NBA has granted them an $8.5 million disabled player exception after Gordon Hayward's season-ending injury. That, and Okafor's situation in Philly, fired up the trade rumors again. Still, the Celtics are apparently unwilling to part with one of their many first-rounders for a half-season rental. 

Sixers hurting Jahlil Okafor's trade value by not playing him

Sixers hurting Jahlil Okafor's trade value by not playing him

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are no different than the handful of teams that have expressed interest in Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.

They like him for the right price which as it stands now, is too high for every team that’s considered a possible landing spot  – that includes the Celtics.

Okafor is looking for the quickest exit out of Philadelphia now that the Sixers have made it abundantly clear that he is not in their plans for the present or the future.


"A buyout or a trade," Okafor told reporters in Philadelphia on Wednesday. "A buyout's not the only option. It's just, I want to get on the court. That's not happening here. It could be a buyout, it could be a trade. I just want something to happen rather quickly."

He has been a healthy scratch in all but one game this season in addition to the Sixers declining to pick up the fourth-year option on his contract worth about $6.3 million which rarely happens to a player selected as high as Okafor (No. 3 overall) was in 2015.

A league source told NBC Sports Boston that the issue at hand, Okafor’s future, has been made unclear because of two factors.

The Sixers overvalued Okafor’s value in the eyes of other teams, presuming that because he was a high draft pick that they can expect comparable compensation in return. 

Also, they underestimated how not playing him would significantly lessen his value in the eyes of potential trade partners, which includes the Celtics.

“This isn’t rocket science,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “You have a player you want to get rid of, you need to get rid of. So … you don’t play him? That makes absolutely no sense in the world.”

One of the knocks on Okafor has been his inability to keep his weight at a manageable. With a mostly vegan diet, he lost about 30 pounds during the offseason and looked to be in the best shape of his basketball career.

But that career is very much up in the air with the Sixers, a team that has no interest in playing him now or motivated to trade him elsewhere.

The Celtics were recently awarded an $8.4 million disabled player exception in relation to the left leg/ankle injury suffered by Gordon Hayward that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

If Okafor gets a buyout, the Celtics would be well-positioned to sign him which would provide another big body who is at his best scoring around the post in half court sets – a strength that would set him apart from most of the current Celtics.

And while Boston has entertained the idea of trading for Okafor, Boston isn’t interested in giving up assets other than a possible second-round pick for Okafor.

It's not a matter of whether they think he's worth it.

Boston is willing to gamble that the Sixers will ultimately buy him out which would allow them to sign him for the remainder of the season, providing the kind of depth that could be just what they need to move beyond last season's success and represent the East in the NBA Finals.