Jahlil Okafor‘s NBA journey hasn’t been an enviable one, so far. When we talk about the Sixers and The Process and all the incredible talent they’ve amassed over the last few years, Okafor is little more than a footnote, an afterthought that will eventually have to be addressed.
He’s become so much of an afterthought around Philadelphia this year that he’s not even sure whether he’s on the team anymore and has appeared in just one regular-season game. Now, it seems he has the answer to that question.
After the organization’s many – and clearly unsuccessful – attempts to find a suitable trade partner, it seems the team is simply ready to cut their losses, whether they get anything back on their investment or not.
Tuesday night was the deadline to pick up his option, meaning that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer and that he’ll ultimately walk away without the franchise getting anything in return. There is almost no incentive now for a team to trade for Okafor, since they wouldn’t even have team control over his contract beyond this year, so it seems almost assured that he’ll remain in basketball purgatory on the end of the Sixers’ bench until this summer.
Ultimately, it speaks to the anachronistic nature of Okafor’s game. The third-year center has little-to-no offensive game outside of the paint, and his immobility renders him a defensive liability. But perhaps a fresh start somewhere else will give Okafor another chance to prove that he can grow into a productive player in the NBA. It just might be his last chance.