Jahlil Okafor’s days as a Philadelphia 76er appear to be coming to an end.
The Sixers said earlier this week that they would not pick up his fourth-year option, so the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft decided to take matters into his own hands, saying that he’s ready to bounce and welcomes a fresh start anywhere else.
Highlights from Jahlil during Duke’s 8-0 start to the season.
“It could be a buyout, it could be a trade,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I just want something to happen rather quickly.”
Okafor, who has fallen behind Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric in terms of being a featured piece of the organizations rebuilding process, told Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo that he wants a buyout. The Sixers have been trying to trade him, but there don’t seem to be too many takers.
“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.”
Okafor, 21, averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game his rookie season in 2015-16 and was named to the league’s All-Rookie team. It seemed that it was only a matter of time before he blossomed into a dominant NBA big man. But something happened along the way to knock him off course.
Last year, he only averaged 22.7 minutes per game while scoring 11.8 points and grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers are far from what was expected of him, as many believed that he was ready to blossom into something special after his solid rookie campaign.
What Okafor has produced this far this season has been nothing short of a dud. He has not been in the steady rotation at all this year, with the coaching staff preferring to give Amir Johnson his minutes.
After playing 22 minutes in Philly’s 128-94 loss to Toronto, he hasn’t played a minute since in games against the Pistons, Rockets and Mavericks.
Highlights of Jahlil Okafor against the Boston Celtics. Okafor finished with 11 Points, 6 Rebounds, and 2 Assists in 17 minutes.
Im playing Amir (Johnson) ahead of him and thats just the situation, Sixers head coach Brett Brown said recently. [Okafor] doesnt let people know. He comes in and his heads good and his spirits good. And he and I talk all the time, but that is the bottom line. He is not in the rotation.
The team announced Tuesday that it had picked up the third-year options for Simmons, Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, as well as the fourth-year option for Justin Anderson.
But they basically told Okafor that he hadn’t earned his option. They either think that will motivate him, or they can’t wait to send him packing.