Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).
There’s more today out of Philadelphia:
- Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
- Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
- The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
- Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).