Jahlil Okafor: 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.
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Jahlil Okafor: My instinct was to not be a distraction. To just handle the situation quietly, in the most graceful way possible. But then you hear what they’re saying about you — Jahlil is passive, or Jahlil looks checked out, or whatever — and you get into this weird position. Because now, suddenly, you’re wondering, “Hang on. Am I being too quiet?”
Okafor contended that he was relegated to independent conditioning work during his time in Philadelphia, suggesting that the Sixers’ coaching staff did not commit time to his development. Sixers coach Brett Brown took umbrage with that statement. “Jahlil knows what we did here,” Brown said. “It’s a young person who gave a quote. I have read that. I think everybody understands how we treat people here and the attention he received while he was here. That’s my reaction.”
Molly French: Brett Brown on the trade: “I’m happy for Jahlil and Nik. They’re going into a good situation to get more of an opportunity to get on the court.”
Tom Moore: Brown says there’s ‘Human disappointment’ it didn’t work out with Okafor. #Sixers
Brian Seltzer: Brown says Okafor starting to feel more comfortable, empowered w/ chance to start, get regular minutes. Has had “excellent” trip, per Brown.
76ers coach Brett Brown has much respect for Jahlil Okafor. Brown is especially impressed by the center’s attitude amid the uncertainty that hovers over his 6-foot-11, 265-pound frame. Barring a sudden change of plans, it appears that Okafor’s days as a Sixer could be about to expire.
“He has been a star,” Brown said of Okafor following Monday’s 113-96 setback to the Detroit Pistons. Brown’s level of respect has a lot to do with how well Okafor has handled his situation. Okafor has remained a good teammate and continued to work hard on his game despite the trade talk. And he continues to hold his head high. “We remind him, ‘Go read your resume,’ ” Brown said. ” ‘You go have a look at who you are.’ And he’s got a lot to be proud of on the court.”
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brown: ‘It’s just part of the fluid part of NBA basketball.’ Okafor starting
Kyle Neubeck: Brett Brown’s explanation for Okafor not playing tonight was basically that he wasn’t in game shape, which is, uh
Charles F. Gardner: 76ers say Nerlens Noel is out with a left ankle sprain, so Jahlil Okafor should get minutes off bench. Okafor played well Sat. vs. Wash.
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brown: ‘Jahlil Okafor is going to be just fine.’
“It’s not ideal to put anybody in it,” Okafor said of not playing. “Obviously, it’s a funky situation. Funky for all of us. Right now, I’m the person who’s sitting out.”
“Obviously, it’s not what I want to be in a position,” Okafor said. “I know I’m not the type of player that’s DNP. But that’s what it is right now. Coach Brown has been phenomenal with communicating with me. I know in the long run, I’ll be fine.”
Tom Moore: Okafor calls his situation ‘funky.’ #Sixers
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brown says Okafor came in late last night to shoot.
Brian Mahoney: Sergio Rodriguez back but McConnell remains starter at PG for 76ers. Brett Brown vague when asked if Okafor would play.
Meanwhile, Okafor didn’t play at all vs. the Celtics, as Brown inserted Noel into the rotation and moved Okafor out, at least temporarily. That marked the first time in Okafor’s 1½-year pro career he was a “DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision).” Okafor needs to be a starter, but that won’t happen with Embiid here. Noel is better than Okafor in a reserve role because of his defensive work. “We are learning,” Brown told reporters afterward. “It’s difficult to play three ‘bigs’ in a 48-minute window.”
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February 21, 2018 | 8:43 pm EST Update
After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.
Away from the Spurs to pursue second opinions in New York, Kawhi Leonard recently utilized the gymnasium inside the National Basketball Players Association headquarters in Manhattan for workouts, league sources told ESPN. The Spurs had team personnel accompanying Leonard in New York, sources said.
The injury, rehabilitation and timetable for a return has complicated the Spurs and Leonard’s relationship, causing tension and fraying the fabric of what was once a strong partnership, league sources told ESPN. The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.