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Emeka Okafor To Delay Return Until 2015/16?

With numerous teams around the league seeking frontcourt help, the pool of available players may just get a tad thinner. Veteran center Emeka Okafor is giving strong consideration to delaying his comeback from a neck injury until next season, Marc Stein of reports. Stein’s sources say that Okafor, who missed the entire 2013/14 campaign after he suffered a herniated disk in his neck, could wait until this summer before inking a deal with a new team in order to give himself more time to continue strength and conditioning work.

According to Stein, numerous teams with a need for a rim protecting big man, including the Cavs, Mavs, and the Heat, have interest in signing Okafor if he decided to play this year. Prior to the season, nearly half of the teams in the league reportedly had interest in the services of the 32-year-old veteran out of Connecticut. Okafor had reportedly auditioned for the Clippers back in August, but the two sides did not reach a contract arrangement.

Okafor’s last action came during the 2012/13 season when he averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per contest for the Wizards. Prior to the beginning of the 2013/14 season, the Wizards dealt Okafor to the Suns for Marcin Gortat. Both sides were aware that Okafor was likely to miss the entire season with his injury, but Phoenix was interested in Okafor’s expiring $14.5MM contract to use as a potential trade chip, though no deal involving Okafor ever came to fruition for the Suns.

In nine seasons, Okafor’s career numbers are 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. His career slash line is .512/.000/.584.

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