Finally, Jahlil Okafor is free.
After sitting on the bench, not playing due to coaches decisions for the past few weeks, the Sixers are mercifully turning the page on the third overall pick from a few years ago, flipping him to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for veteran power forward Trevor Booker.
The Sixers also, to entice the Nets, are trading away another first round pick in Nick Stauskas, a poor man's J.J. Redick who seemed not to have a true role with Philly off the bench.
Philly will send Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a second-round pick to Brooklyn for Trevor Booker, sources say.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) December 7, 2017
Philly never really seemed to warm up to Okafor, who nearly won Rookie of the Year honors when he first debuted in 2015. He won a National Championship at Duke but never showed he was an NBA star. He can score, but defense is a problem and needs work.
On Brooklyn he will join a rag-tag team with no first round pick next year and even lower expectations. The Sixers are moving onto the next stage of competitivness and are happy with their rotation of Joel Embiid, Richuan Holmes and Amir Johnson at center. Even though Okafor entered 2017-18 in great shape — newly vegan — he never had a chance to play. He will get new life in Brooklyn and a much-needed fresh start.
Last year Philly traded Nerlens Noel, another first round big man, for a second round pick from the Mavericks.
In all, Philly turned it's three big men into a future All-Star (or even MVP) and two second round picks.
Much credit is due to Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers' front office staff for getting anything for Okafor at all. With his team option denied, he is set to be a free agent next year. which threatened to diminish his trade value. It was contemplated that perhaps the only course of action was to waive the big man, but obviously getting Booker is more than nothing
The 30-year-old Booker is having a decent season in New York, averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He will be a solid back up for Dario Saric — who has had injury problems of late leading into Thursday night's game against the Lakers. Many think his ability to score and play gritty defense will make him a good fit in defense-first Philadelphia. He seemed excited to join Philadelphia on twitter Thursday.
It’s been real Brooklyn. Will always have nothing but love for you. Loved my time in New York!!!— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) December 7, 2017