Sixers first-rounder Jahlil Okafor is preparing himself to be the focal point that Philadelphia will build around, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. “I’m definitely used to being the centerpiece of a team,” Okafor said. “That’s what I’ve become accustomed to. That’s what I’ve been working so hard for.” Philly point guard Isaiah Canaan is excited about the possibilities Okafor brings with him to the team, Kennedy adds. “He’s going to open up everything,” Canaan said of Okafor. “He’s a big presence on the post. He can score the ball and he can pass. With a big guy who can do that and draw a lot of attention, he’s going to open up everyone else on the team and he’s going to be big piece for us. You always need a big man on the team. Next to point guard, that’s the most important piece. To have Big Jah and hopefully [Joel] Embiid – if he can come back fully healthy next year – not to mention still adding other pieces, we’ll be fine and have a lot of great players on this team.”
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:
- The first two seasons of Jordan Mickey‘s four-year deal with the Celtics are fully guaranteed, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The forward is set to earn $1,170,960 this season, followed by salaries of $1,223,653, $1,276,346, and $1,329,039, Pincus adds.
- Ronald Roberts‘ two-year agreement with the Raptors includes a partial guarantee for $75K, Pincus relays (on Twitter).
- The final season of Mike Dunleavy‘s three-year pact with the Bulls, which is scheduled to pay him approximately $5.18MM, is only partially guaranteed for $1.66MM, Pincus tweets.
- The cancellation of the scheduled meeting between LaMarcus Aldridge and the Knicks was due to New York’s desire for Aldridge to play exclusively at center, a position he is not fond of, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork writes. “They didn’t want to meet with me,” Aldridge said. “Some people said it was me. But it was both parties agreeing that we shouldn’t meet.” League sources informed Begley that Knicks president Phil Jackson decided to cancel the meeting when it became clear that Aldridge had no desire to man the pivot on a nightly basis.