Jahlil Okafor nearly joined the Boston Celtics ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline but the deal never materialized, per latest NBA Trade Rumors.
According to Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, Celtics GM Danny Ainge said the team was “very close” to trade a “big package” of players to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Okafor just hours before last week’s trade deadline. However, Philadelphia decided to hold onto the player they selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Okafor has had a stellar rookie season, tallying 17.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 assists from 30.2 minutes of playing time. Many coaches and executives reckon that Okafor is headed to an all-star calibre career and could emerge as a cornerstone for a young franchise.
“While a league source has indicated the late target Ainge has referred to in radio interviews was Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor, Ainge has turned silent on the matter. In any case, we do know the deal was dead on Wednesday and that the other club pulled the plug. The locals left the porch light on, but nothing returned to life,” Boston Herald wrote in a report.
On Friday, Ainge appeared on 98.5 CBS Boston’s “Toucher and Rich Show” and revealed how active his team was on the deadline day. “I can’t tell you the team or the name, but it was very close. It was something we had been deliberating on for two days straight. We were wrapping ourselves around a big package to do a deal, and at the very last minute … they did not want to do it, they backed out.”
Ainge never revealed that the other team was Philadelphia. However, the Boston Herald categorically stated that Okafor was Boston’s primary target. Despite possessing a chest of draft picks and young players, the Celtics feel they are still a superstar piece away from becoming legitimate championship contenders.
Stay tuned for latest NBA Trade Rumors.