So far, Colangelo has rejected discussions on a contract buyout that would allow Okafor to become a free agent. Colangelo is holding out the possibility that Okafor’s $5 million salary could be packaged as part of a bigger deal before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, even if he can’t find a singular move involving Okafor, league sources said. That’s where the disconnect comes between Colangelo and Okafor’s camp, because waiting on that improbability could cause this to become a lost season for Okafor.
“I would like for them to just send me somewhere where I can get an opportunity,” Okafor told ESPN. “I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me and I would just like to get an opportunity to play with a trade or a buyout. I just hope something happens quickly.
“This is my third year in the NBA, and I know it’s a business. I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but in talking to other people in the NBA, talking to retired players, one thing I’ve heard them say is that what’s going on with me isn’t right and they’ve never seen anything like this before. “I know it’s business, but in my eyes, I don’t know if it’s good business.”
“We are simply requesting the organization be willing to proceed reasonably and allow Jah to get on with his career,” Duffy said. “The Sixers are positioned well for the present and the future, and we only want the same for Jahlil.” For now, Colangelo continues to make trade calls, Duffy continues to push for the buyout and Jahlil Okafor sits on the Sixers bench. He turns 22 years old in December.
One of his biggest supporters — former team president Phil Jackson — is long gone. Now Noah’s return means the Knicks have one player too many and will have to make a move by 5 p.m. Sunday. According to a source, Kuzminskas will be the roster move, although it was unclear whether he will be traded or waived. “I think a lot of things happened this summer, you know, a lot of things changed,” Kuzminskas said. “And it’s obvious that last year’s team wasn’t that good, so you’ve got to change something . . . [And when] a person like [Jackson] is a fan of yours, it’s awesome, but you know, like I said, I was happy when he was here last year. He gave me a lot of advice. Just seeing him last year, the practices, it gives extra motivation. This year, he’s gone. This year we have other guys who are great too in our front office.”
Mindaugas Kuzminskas says he’ll have “a sleepless’’ night as he awaits the Knicks’ decision on who goes or stays. If the Knicks can’t make a trade, say getting a late first-rounder for backup center Kyle O’Quinn, the two likely candidates to be waived Sunday to make room for Joakim Noah’s return from drug suspension is either banished point guard Ramon Sessions or the exiled Kuzminskas.
Kuzminskas and Sessions are each in the final year of their deals. The 3-point specialist who starred in the European Championships for Lithuania is in the last of his two-year deal, paying him $3.8 million. Sessions signed just a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $2.1 million. An outside candidate to be removed is Michael Beasley, who has yet to shine, outplayed by Doug McDermott. He’s also on a one-year veteran’s minimum deal.