The Sixers assured Jahlil Okafor prior to the deadline that the center was a significant part of their future even though his name was attached to trade rumors, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. The Sixers listened to offers involving Okafor, according to reports, but needed an overwhelming deal to move him. The Celtics were rumored to be interested in Okafor, but league sources told Pompey that a deal was never in place.
“Rumors have been coming out about me all year,” Okafor said. “It’s just rumors. People here, I talked to them [beforehand]. We are all good where we are at right now. The rumors keep coming out. I know what’s going on here.”
Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:
- Nets interim coach Tony Brown believes the decision to part ways with Andrea Bargnani in what is believed to be a buyout deal was best for both parties, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets.
- The Knicks, who did not improve their point guard situation before Thursday’s deadline, hope rookie Jerian Grant, who has been inconsistent, can improve his play, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. Grant is averaging 4.7 points and 2.4 assists per game.
- With Kelly Olynyk dealing with a right shoulder injury and David Lee gone, there is a decent chance Celtics rookie Jordan Mickey will receive some playing time sooner rather than later, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com details. Mickey has spent the majority of this season in the D-League.
- The vibe around the Nets is a lot more positive recently after Brooklyn hired Sean Marks as its new GM and moved into a new training facility, Lewis writes. “Definitely. It’s almost like it’s a new situation,” Joe Johnson said. “We have this great practice facility. We’ve got everything pretty much at our disposal. Guys come back with a great attitude since the break. You just want to try to finish strong and try to develop some type of chemistry with players that we have here. Just keep improving as a team, individually and see what happens.’’ Marks will spend the second half of the season evaluating the entire organization, per Lewis, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of Brown if Brooklyn continues its positive trend.