When the Philadelphia 76ers drafted Jahlil Okafor with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, fans expected a franchise big man.
Much like former draft lottery big man Nerlens Noel, who was traded for 2015’s No. 21 overall pick Justin Anderson, Okafor has had a tough run for the Sixers.
After just two seasons (plus one game this year) he is out of the rotation and has likely played his last game for the team. While he has said he prefers a contract buyout, league analyst Chris Mannix wrote about why Philadelphia would choose to trade him for low value (via Yahoo Sports):
“Philadelphia is resisting a buyout, league sources told Yahoo Sports, if for no other reason than it wants someone else to assume the $5 million Okafor has left on his contract. The Sixers understand the market has cratered — declining the option and positioning Okafor to be an unrestricted free agent next summer didn’t help — but at this point are unwilling to just let him walk away.”
Mannix adds that a team may give up “a couple of second-round picks, a salary filler and/or a stashed mid-level European prospect” to land Okafor.
However, Adrian Wojnarowski reports that “interest exists” for Okafor and the Sixers may only require second-round picks to agree to a deal (via ESPN):
“[Philadelphia] has remained determined to find an Okafor trade that will bring the Sixers back an asset, but the Sixers ultimate deal point could be centered on future second-round draft picks, league sources told ESPN.”
In that case, there are many teams around the league who could be interested in the former collegiate national champion. It’s unclear where he would be the best fit, though.
Some teams have the cap space to take on the approximately $5 million left on his deal. Others could create room by surrendering a relatively cheap deal to Philadelphia.