The Jahlil Okafor saga came to an overdue conclusion on Thursday when the Philadelphia 76ers dealt the big man, along with Nik Stauskas and a 2019 second-round pick (via the Knicks), to the Brooklyn Nets for veteran power forward Trevor Booker.
The Sixers deserve credit for finally putting an end to a dismal situation surrounding the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. They butchered Okafor’s trade value by holding onto him for too long amid a logjam in the frontcourt, and left the 21-year-old stuck on the bench as they scrambled to find an acceptable return and landing spot for him amid his declining value.
The Nets will be a good spot for the Duke product to rebuild his worth. They are obviously committed to their youth movement and have a void at the center spot with minutes currently going to the likes of Tyler Zeller and an over-the-hill Timofey Mozgov. Okafor will have a chance to prove himself with the Nets, and he’ll have to do so in Kenny Atkinson’s uptempo system. If the big man succeeds, Brooklyn also has the cap room to retain him after the season (which shouldn’t be an issue since it’s hard to see Okafor commanding a big raise on the open market).
So while the Sixers may have done right by Okafor in finding him a place he can play, it’s a bit puzzling to see how they made out.