- Jahlil Okafor is out of the Philadelphia 76ers’ rotation and is open about wanting a trade or buyout.
- The 76ers reportedly haven’t been able to find a trade for him and don’t want to buy him out.
- Okafor said other players have told him that they’ve never seen anything like his situation.
Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor remains in limbo and sounds impatient as the team decides his future.
Okafor is in the final year of his rookie deal after the 76ers chose not to pick up a contract option for next season. He has been left out of the rotation this season, playing just 25 minutes in two games, as the team heads in another direction.
Earlier in ths season, Okafor expressed his desire to be traded or bought out by the team. But almost a month later, the 76ers still can’t find a deal for him and remain unwilling to buy him out. Okafor told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that while he understands the business aspect of things, he thinks the 76ers are doing bad business. He also said other players have expressed sympathy.
“I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me and I would just like to get an opportunity to play with a trade or a buyout. I just hope something happens quickly.
“This is my third year in the NBA, and I know it’s a business. I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but in talking to other people in the NBA, talking to retired players, one thing I’ve heard them say is that what’s going on with me isn’t right and they’ve never seen anything like this before. I know it’s business, but in my eyes, I don’t know if it’s good business.”
According to Wojnarowski, the 76ers’ asking price for Okafor has dropped dramatically over time, from two first-round picks to a second-round pick. Wojnarowski reported that some teams are interested in Okafor as a reclamation project, but few are willing to give up a draft pick for him.
The 76ers are also in a quandary as they’re trying to preserve cap space for the offseason, meaning they can’t take back any big salaries in a trade, and Okafor will be a free agent this offseason. Teams that may be interested in Okafor have little reason to give something up for him if they could pursue him in the offseason.
Okafor acknowledged this earlier in the season when he discussed asking Sixers president Bryan Colangelo for a buyout.
“I only talked about it with Bryan and he just said that he felt that if he bought me out, another team would be getting me for free,” Okafor said. “But that’s where we stand today, because he waited so long to trade me. There’s nothing else to do. I’m not playing here and at the end of this season, I’m an unrestricted free agent.”
While the Sixers aren’t doing anything wrong by trying to get back value for a young player who was the third overall pick in 2015, surely some players are also noticing how Okafor is being treated. While the Sixers are a young, up-and-coming team, Okafor’s strange scenario may raise some eyebrows around the league.