As reported by the Philly Voice, the Philadelphia 76ers will not elect to pick up the fourth-year, $6.3 million option on forward Jahlil Okafor. Averaging 14.7 points, 1.2 assists, and 6 rebounds in his somewhat short career, Okafor will join the likes of Anthony Bennett and Hasheem Thabeet as the only top-three selections in NBA Draft history to not have their fourth-year options picked up.
Is the option of Okafor not being picked up due to lack of talent and potential? Absolutely not. The 76ers have placed themselves in a situation where they have drafted a multitude of talented prospects such as Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and even Dario Saric. With that, Okafor has become expendable to a degree, leaving Philadelphia forced to pick and choose which players will remain on the roster for the long-haul.
Having been named to the All-Rookie team back in 2015, Okafor saw his minutes reduced from 30 to 22.7 the following year. With the emergence of other talented 76ers players, the Duke prodigy has been seeing less opportunities throughout his three years in the NBA.
In terms of the situation, rumors have swirled that Okafor may request a buyout from the 76ers, which would allow the forward to seek alternative homes for the 2017-18 season. On the other hand, Philadelphia has indeed placed Okafor on the trade block, as the franchise will aim to receive young talent or a draft pick in return for his services.
Although the 76ers plan to move Okafor via trade, this is an action the front office has been seeking to execute for more than two seasons now. With virtually no luck at the forefront, it’s highly unlikely that Philadelphia will receive anything of genuine value in return for the 21-year old.
Some destinations in which suitors could emerge include the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, and Chicago Bulls, all of whom are in need of young talent (or talent in general).
I would assume that a buyout is a more realistic option for the 76ers, as the front office continues to scrape together offers from opposing franchises. If a team does emerge within a trade for the forward, assume that Philadelphia won’t receive a whole lot of value, as their backs are seemingly up against the wall.