Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 pick in last year’s NBA draft, has been perennially linked with Boston Celtics as a possible trade target ever since last year’s NBA trade deadline.
Last February, the Philadelphia 76ers and Celtics reportedly engaged in trade talks for Okafor with the Sixers backing out of a possible transaction. This offseason, the Sixers have changed their stance about Okafor especially with new GM Bryan Colangelo admitting that the team needed to trade one or two of their front court players.
Jahlil Okafor no longer a target?
According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics no longer view Okafor as a prized target. “It’s possible the Celtics and Philadelphia could revisit talks for Jahlil Okafor, but, according to sources, those talks appear to have grown stale,” Bulpett reported on Saturday.
Bleacher Report’s Chris Rolling opines that Sixers should hold onto Okafor. “Really, both sides not wanting to do the move makes sense. The 76ers have a potential star on their hands who has plenty of room to grow,” wrote Rolling in his trade rumor wrap-up on Sunday.
Besides Okafor, the Sixers have Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel and Ben Simmons in an overcrowded front court. During the last week of May, ESPN’s Mark Stein reported that the Sixers were desperate to trade either Okafor or Noel before June 23’s NBA Draft. However, the Sixers couldn’t get a desirable deal for Okafor despite talks with more than half a dozen teams.
Earlier this month, the Bucks County Courier Times reported that Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo “tried like hell” to trade Okafor prior to the draft but wasn’t successful.
Jahlil Okafor vents frustration…
Okafor, himself, has grown tired of the trade rumors that have persisted the entire year. The former Duke standout shot out a series of tweets, expressing his frustration over the constant trade talks. “One second I’m reportedly upset to be in Philly, then the next I’m upset about trade rumors and having to leave Philly. Which one is it? Source please confirm.
“Seems like writers are getting lazy, dropping a fraudulent story and try to make it credible by using that magic word…. Sources! Lol stop it. With all that being said. I love where I am, and I am excited about this upcoming season. Big season for us! #Philly,” said Okafor barely hours after the report that Colangelo has been desperately trying to trade the center.
Jahlil Okafor averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a rookie last season.