The Sixers are collaborating with Jahlil Okafor‘s camp to find a suitable trade, Chris Haynes of ESPN writes. The 21-year-old former third-overall pick has seen his role decrease yet again in his third season with Philadelphia.
Per Haynes, head coach Brett Brown committed to Amir Johnson as the team’s chief backup center for the time being. He joins Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric in what is suddenly a loaded frontcourt.
While at this point there are no frontrunners for a possible deal, Okafor’s value could be higher now than it was last season, despite that he’s been a healthy scratch in four of Philly’s first five games this year. Over the course of the offseason, Okafor worked himself into the best physical condition of his career.
Okafor’s game may be a relic of a foregone era but the fact that the big man has been nothing but a consummate professional throughout an unprecedented process will serve him well in the eyes of other teams looking to add value at a discount.
Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game his rookie campaign, the season before Embiid showed up and bumped him down the depth chart. What’s more, for much of his lone college campaign at Duke, he was even projected to go first overall in the 2015 NBA Draft ahead of Karl-Anthony Towns.
While times have certainly changed since then and there may be a scarcity of teams willing to make Okafor’s lumbering playing style an offensive focal point, similarly old-fashioned bigs – like Jonas Valanciunas and Greg Monroe – have found success as niche players on winning ball clubs.
The fact that, as Haynes reports, the organization is working alongside Okafor’s representatives speaks to the relationship between the two parties. With the October 31 contract option deadline fast approaching, trade discussions will play a role in whether or not the Sixers pick up the center’s fourth-year option.