Instant reaction: Sixers trade Okafor to the Nets


It is about 18 months too late, but the Sixers have finally unloaded Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers sent Okafor, Nik Stuaskus, and the Knicks' 2019 second round pick to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Trevor Booker, whose contract expires in 2018. 

Given the circumstances, which I'll elaborate on later, this is a great deal for both teams. Okafor and Stauskus were pretty much out of the rotation this season, and would not have been re-signed by the team after the season. The Knicks second round pick would've most likely amounted to nothing of benefit for a team now on the rise, and getting Trevor Booker on an expiring contract ensures that the Sixers will get a productive rotation player, while still preserving their cap space in the 2018 summer. 

For the Nets, they take a chance on two former lottery picks. The have been and need to continue piling up outcasted players as they try to rise from the graveyard they were buried at by the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade in 2013. The Knicks second round pick adds to it's coffers (a Sam Hinkie term) in 2019 where the team will finally have the rights to it's own first round pick for the first time since 2015, which was also a wasted draft pick. That KG/Pierce trade was seriously one of the worst trades in the history of the NBA.

For the Sixers, there is no doubt that this trade has lifted a cloud that has been hovering the organization for the last year and a half. When Bryan Colangelo became the GM in 2016, he claimed that he wouldn't make a bad deal. Fans and local media alike were screaming their collective heads off telling the organization that it couldn't head into the 2016-17 season with Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, and Nerlens Noel on the same roster. They had to make a trade that summer while the value was still high. Not only that, the center logjam would've caused serious problems, and well, it did. Noel was visably upset at the center logjam that caused him to only play 8 minutes in one game. He was ultimately traded to the Mavericks during last season's trade deadline and while the trade looks a tiny bit better knowing what we know now, it was still an underwhelming trade.

The Sixers tried in every way to accommodate for Okafor, the coaching staff played Nerlens Noel out of position at power forward during the 2015-16 season because Okafor couldn't play any other position, and stunk on defense. They even tried playing Joel Embiid and Okafor together for 79 total minutes last season, Joel Embiid pretty much played POWER FORWARD and that was also a disaster. Fast forward to this season, and Okafor was pretty much phased out of the rotation, and his agent has went to Adrian Wojnarowski not once, but twice, complaining about the situation. Okafor was a good soilder and was saying the right things for most of this saga, and while I understand that the mental wear and tear of not playing and being stuck in a bad situation caused him to lash out, his sympathy with me had been long gone after the outbursts.

Okafor had 2700+ minutes to prove he can be at least a productive NBA player, never mind the third pick in the 2015 draft. I have already detailed on this website why he is not a good NBA player, but here's a question for people who are somehow still PrOkafors: If he is so good, why is it that Richaun Holmes, who was drafted in the second round in Okafor's draft, and Dario Saric, who isn't even a center, are ahead of him on the center depth chart? Dario Saric is a starting POWER FORWARD and is the fourth string center. The coaches have tried, they know what he brings to the table, which is inefficient, but talented, post scoring and nothing else. 

Bryan Colangleo over-played his hand in a very poor way right from the time he took over as GM, the right deal was doing something about the center logjam the summer he took over the position and now he had to get what he could because the front office was the main reason Okafor's trade value took a nose dive.

I hope Stauskus and Okafor revive their careers in Brooklyn, they will certainly get more opportunities to do so. More importantly, the Sixers can now move on with both parties getting what they wanted.  

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