Posts for jahlil okafor

Jahlil Okafor Says He Was “Dying” to Play While Sixers Sought a Trade Partner

Kevin Kinkead - January 9, 2018

Jahlil Okafor is the latest athlete to tell his story on the Player’s Tribune. It’s a lengthy and interesting read.

For context, you probably know that the athletes don’t actually write these stories. They do a lengthy interview, which is more of a conversation, and a ghostwriter puts everything together. John Boruk mentioned this a while back and got blasted into the high heavens for it. I’m not sure what was up with that. I think Flyers fans feel like Boruk has something against Shayne Gostisbehere, hence the backlash.

Anyhow, Jah’s story is called, “Jahlil Okafor should be on your radar RIGHT NOW!!!,” a reference to the emails his father wrote to college athletic directors back in 2009.

He talks about the emotional loss of his mother at age nine and his ensuing move to Chicago’s South Side. He describes playing his dad one-on-one and the attention he received as a six foot tall fifth grader. There are a lot of detailed personal moments in the write up.

Jahlil also explains his tumultuous exit from the Sixers in a way that shows understanding, yet disappointment with how it all went down:

I just wanted to play basketball — that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. But I didn’t fit into Philly’s plans. And I totally understood why Coach couldn’t play me. They’re trying to build those guys into a playoff contender — and I wasn’t going to be there when that happened. So it didn’t make sense for them to have me in the rotation.

But, man, it’s still tough. And you still want to play.

It was like everybody knew I was gone … and we were all just waiting for it to happen.


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Jahlil Okafor Wants a Buyout or a Trade

Kevin Kinkead - November 1, 2017

Can you blame him?

Less than 24 hours after his fourth-year option was declined by the Sixers, Jahlil Okafor told reporters that he’d like to move on sooner rather than later, instead of riding the bench for the rest of the season.

The approach was always tricky. Picking up that option would lock a potential trade partner into a 6.3 million dollar salary next year. Declining the option would leave suitors with the threat of their new acquisition walking at the end of the year.

Okafor says he spoke to GM Bryan Colangelo about that issue:

“He said that he felt that if he bought me out, another team would be getting me for free,” Okafor said. “But that’s where we stand today because you waited so long to trade me. There’s nothing else to do. I’m not playing here and at the end of the season, I’m an unrestricted free agent. So I want to get on the court and play and produce.”

I wasn’t at Wednesday’s shootaround, but Okafor’s words seem very genuine and reasonable on paper. He’s handled the situation extremely well, considering the fact that he’s been essentially frozen out by the franchise that selected him third overall in the 2015 draft:

I’m not sure what else he can say beyond that. The situation appears to be amicable, but it makes you wonder what exactly the Sixers were asking for if they couldn’t get a trade done after more than a year of alleged shopping.

The worst case scenario for Okafor is that he sits on the bench all year, becomes an unrestricted free agent, and goes home to the Chicago Bulls. The best case scenario is that someone throws the Sixers a bone for a Jahlil trial run. I don’t know what value he has left, since most of it was already wiped out when he was left on the bench to begin the season. He played one game this year, the Toronto loss, in which the Sixers did not have Joel Embiid or Richaun Holmes available.

The Sixers Did Not Pick Up Jahlil Okafor’s Option

Kevin Kinkead - October 31, 2017

The Sixers did not pick up center Jahlil Okafor’s fourth-year rookie option. Contract options for Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were exercised, according to a team press release that went out shortly after 4 p.m.

A Sixers source earlier confirmed the news to Crossing Broad.

Okafor was not specifically mentioned in the press release, though teams announce all of their contract moves at once, which is standard NBA operating procedure.

Per release:

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo announced today that the team has exercised the third-year options on the contracts of guard-forward Ben Simmons, forward Dario Šarić and guard-forward Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, as well as the fourth-year option on the contract of guard-forward Justin Anderson. By exercising their options, these players will be under contract with the Sixers for the 2018-19 season.

The Jah news seemed invitable, even before Brett Brown told reporters last Friday that the third-year center would not be in the Sixers’ rotation moving forward. Amir Johnson has been the first big off the bench while Richaun Holmes continues to recover from a wrist injury.

Okafor’s 2018-19 option would have paid him a hefty $6.3 million, eating up a decent amount of cap space for a guy who just isn’t part of the future. He was the third-overall selection in the 2015 draft and averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds as a rookie, but his numbers declined last season before a knee injury cut his sophomore campaign short. He came into camp 20 pounds lighter after converting to a vegan diet.

It’s understood that the relationship between club and player remains amicable despite the decision to move in a different direction.

Said Brown on Friday:

“I’m playing Amir (Johnson) ahead of him and that’s just the situation. Jahlil doesn’t let people know. He comes in and his head’s good and his spirit’s good. And he and I talk all the time, but that is the bottom line. He is not in the rotation.”

On one hand, Okafor not having his option picked up could make it harder for him to be traded, as there’s no guarantee he’ll stick around with his new club next year. On the other hand, there are likely some teams that would prefer the flexibility of not having his option, allowing a low-risk trial run with the big man. Either way, there doesn’t appear to be a big market for Okafor, who has been on the trade block for more than a year now.

Okafor is expected to continue to travel and train with the Sixers until a suitable trade partner is found. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll become a free agent next summer.

Sixers Notes: Injury Upgrades, Ping-Pong Battles, and Looking “Like a Stick”

Kevin Kinkead - September 29, 2017

Friday’s Sixers news wasn’t half bad, both literally and figuratively.

Joel Embiid participated in half-court 5v5 segments, while Jahlil Okafor took part in all activities. It was the first time both players practiced in those capacities during training camp.

We didn’t get to see it with our own eyes, but Brett Brown provided an update.

“He looked good,” Brown said of Embiid. “He gets so motivated to play in real situations, and his energy has been excellent in sort of the drill work. To see him more around with bodies on the floor and have it be offense/defense, I thought that he looked pretty good.”

Brown was asked if the team needed to reign in Embiid to keep him from going too hard, too soon.

“I hear your question, and it’s not how he’s wired. I’m not really even sure, from a coaching standpoint, what that looks like. We play and he plays. He’s not diving into stands – which I do get what that looks like – but, in general, just his energy and his passion, he wants to block every shot. It’s hard to say no to that.”

The head coach pointed out that it’s one thing for Embiid to refamiliarize himself with structure and learn to be around his new teammates. It’s another thing for players like Markelle Fultz, JJ Redick, and Ben Simmons to learn how to play with a unique talent like Embiid.

“He’s obviously very different to play with,” Brown added. “We’re talking about what he has to get used to, but it’s a whole different thing for his teammates, you know? You have another incredible weapon and target that you have to get the ball to, or recognize that he’s behind you defensively. All over the place it’s subtle adjustments, but the bottom line is to see him with us, sweating and playing against people, and them playing against him, it was a good day.”

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TMZ Posted Video of Jahlil Okafor’s 108 mph Police Chase Over the Ben Franklin Bridge

Kyle Scott - February 22, 2016

The hits keep on coming.

Police dash cam footage apparently has a price, too. TMZ just posted this video of the high-speed pursuit of Jahlil Okafor from back in October, when he was reported to be going 108 over the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Pretty uneventful, but I appreciate how it essentially escalated to a GTA two-star pursuit with the second cop arriving on the other side of the bridge. Had BIG JAH hung a left down that one-way, he most certainly would’ve gone to three stars and encountered helicopters and sniper fire. And at the point, it’s best to just try to steal a plane while you’re at it. Together we build.

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Report: The Sixers Nearly Traded Jahlil Okafor to the Celtics

Kyle Scott - February 20, 2016

Well, here’s something.

Celtics President Danny Ainge went on Boston radio and said he was close to pulling off a blockbuster trade – what front office exec says this when he doesn’t pull it off? – involving the Nets’ 2016 first round pick, which the Celtics own, but gave no further details. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the deal was with the Sixers for Jahlil Okafor:

Danny Ainge clearly doesn’t. And that is healthy. It’s why he spent the last several days trying to get the kind of magnetic player needed to lift the Celtics from the NBA’s middle earth. While a league source has indicated the late target Ainge has referred to in radio interviews was Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, Ainge has turned silent on the matter.

From NESN:

In an interview with WBZ NewsRadio’s Adam Kaufman on Friday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed Boston came “very close” to making a blockbuster deal that would have involved the team moving the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick.

Ainge said the other team backed out at the last minute but wouldn’t reveal what team it was. Yet the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported Friday night, citing a league source, that Ainge’s target was none other than Philadelphia 76ers rookie Jahlil Okafor.

Bulpett added the potential deal for Okafor “was dead on Wednesday” and that “the locals (Boston) left the porch light on, but nothing returned to life.”

That is slightly mind-bending, given the fact that Sam Hinkie told reporters earlier on Friday that the Sixers weren’t particularly close to any other deals besides the one they made for a second round pick, and that Okafor, who had been rumored earlier in the week to be involved in trade talks, and Nerlens Noel are “a great pairing.” He did, however, say there was a fair bit of interest in both players.

I see two possibilities:

  1. Ainge is blowing smoke and overselling the fact that, like, he tots almost pulled off a big deal.
  2. Hinkie is full of shit and couldn’t restrain himself from what projects to be a high draft pick but was told by Jerry Colangelo and Joshua Harris that he would be castrated and filleted with a rusty shoe horn if he dared to trade what is, to date, the Sixers’ most impressive fleshy being for yet another asset.

I’m kind of leaning towards option 1, but 2… well, 2 is more fun.

We Zaprudered The Jahlil Okafor Fight (Video Version)

Kyle Scott - December 2, 2015

For those who prefer moving pictures.

For the text version, here.

We Zaprudered The Jahlil Okafor Fight

Kyle Scott - December 2, 2015

What follows is an edited version of the latest Jahlil Okafor fight, originally posted by TMZ. For educational purposes, we have dissected it frame by frame. Come with us on our journey. Continue Reading

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