The Sixers have decided not to pick up the 2018/19 option on Jahlil Okafor‘s contract, something that will render the big man an unrestricted free agent this summer. Yet, sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links) that Okafor prefers to not have to wait to change teams and may push for a buyout agreement with Philly.
Stein hears that Okafor is convinced that the team has had several workable deals on the table, though the Sixers have declined to make a move.
Okafor’s 2018/19 option was set to pay him $6.3MM and any team that acquires him in a trade this season wouldn’t be able to offer him a starting salary that goes beyond that figure in negotiations this summer.
Okafor has only seen action in one game this season—a game Joel Embiid sat out—and he made four of seven shots on his way to 10 points. The organization seems confident that Embiid can be the team’s center for the foreseeable future, evidenced by the unique long-term five-year extension it doled out to him earlier this month. Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson also present barriers to playing time in Philadelphia, as Johnson has seen action at the five this season and Holmes should as well once he returns from his wrist injury.
The decision to decline Okafor’s option wasn’t solely based on his fit on the court. The Sixers are reportedly angling to make a splash next offseason and they want to maintain flexibility in order to do so.
Entering the 2015 draft, Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns were widely considered the two best prospects in the draft class and his fall to Philadelphia at three was a shocking development for many. Okafor has played 104 games with the Sixers since being drafted and it’s possible we’ve seen the last of him in a Philly uniform.
Stay tuned to Hoops Rumors for the latest on the Sixers, Jahlil Okafor, and potential landing spots for the big man.