Jahlil Okafor on Possible Trade from 76ers: I Hope Something Happens Quickly

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2017

Philadelphia 76ers' Jahlil Okafor dribbles the ball during prior to an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Philadelphia. Okafor, the No. 3 pick of the 2015 draft, wants out after the Sixers declined to pick up his fourth-year contract option for next season. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor has once again gone public with his desire to leave the team, saying he hopes a trade or a buyout "happens quickly."

"I would like for them to just send me somewhere where I can get an opportunity," Okafor told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "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."

Okafor, who turns 22 on Dec. 15, has played in just two games this season. He has not been on the floor since a three-minute stint in Nov. 7's win over the Utah Jazz.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown told reporters he's not playing Okafor during garbage time out of respect for the 2015 third overall pick.

"To just hoist somebody a little tiny window of minutes isn't something that interests me," Brown said after the team's 101-81 win over the Portland Trail Blazers last Wednesday. "I say that out of respect to [Okafor]. I don't think that puts him in a position that I want to put him in."

Philadelphia declined Okafor's fourth-year option on his rookie contract last month, making his eventual exit inevitable. General manager Bryan Colangelo has found no takers on the trade market, with most teams seemingly satisfied to wait the situation out and hope for a buyout. The Sixers are reportedly asking for just a second-round pick in return for a player who nearly won Rookie of the Year two seasons ago.

Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 53 games for a 2015-16 Sixers team that won just 10 games. He was a lone bright spot on that moribund roster but had his share of problems on and off the court, including multiple incidents of reckless driving and a Boston street fight that made the rounds on social media.

While his off-court record has remained spotless over the last two years, there are concerns about his defense and ability to stay on the floor. He was limited to 50 games last season despite being part of the rotation.

"We appreciate the effort that [Okafor] has put forth, and other than a little frustration expressed recently, he's been patient waiting for an opportunity to play," Colangelo told ESPN. "I continue to explore opportunities with both Jahlil and [agent] Bill Duffy to find a more suitable spot for him."

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