Sixers center Jahlil Okafor is pretty much done in Philadelphia, as he’s played just 25 minutes this season and slipped behind Amir Johnson on the depth chart. Even though both parties should move on for their mutual benefit, the Sixers are holding Okafor hostage and hoping to trade him for something of value.
Squeezing a second-rounder out of some team desperate for a scoring big man is good, but players around the league notice which organizations fuck over their players. Isaiah Thomas has called the Sixers out for keeping Okafor on ice while they try to capitalize on his (miniscule) value, and he’s now been joined by the Warriors, who posed with Okafor’s father and his “FREE JAH” shirt this weekend.
Okafor’s situation is a weird one. After playing regularly through the first two seasons of his career, he’s only played 25 minutes all season and scored a grand total of 10 points. Okafor can get buckets, and he’s always been a talented post scorer, the issue he is can’t really do anything else very well and he definitely doesn’t spread the floor, which has led the Sixers braintrust to see him as a vestigial player.
He wants out so he can, you know, play basketball, but if the Sixers cut him, they’d be punting on a former top-three pick just three seasons into his career. As much as Okafor is out of place in the spread-out three-happy NBA of 2017, he can still score down low and he deserves a second shot somewhere. Okafor will be a free agent after the season, and if there was any market for him, the Sixers would have traded him by now. Granting him his release and letting him pick his next team would be the nice thing to do, but it doesn’t look like Okafor will be getting that courtesy.