After weeks of being buried on the bench for Philly, Jahlil Okafor got his wish and was finally traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn will receive Okafor, Nik Stauskas, and a 2019 second-rounder (from NYK) while Philly will get veteran forward Trevor Booker. However, the Nets will have to waive guard Sean Kilpatrick to create space for their new acquisitions.
Once part of Philly’s “The Process”, Okafor was relegated as a bench warmer when Joel Embiid rose as one of the league’s best big men. Sixers president Bryan Colangelo indicated that a deal was in place for the beleaguered center, only for the deal to fall apart in the last minute last season. That created a rift between Okafor and the management as he was racking up DNP’s even if he was the leading scorer for Philly on his rookie season, when Embiid was unable to play. When asked about the trade, head coach Brett Brown said:
“He can go play basketball again. There is a level of toughness and versatility that interests me and he’s shown that he can play, handle not play, be good people and handle himself like a pro. We went through a lot together while he was here.”
Embiid, on the other hand, couldn’t felt happier for his former teammate’s fresh start. However, he made it clear that he would make life difficult for him on the court when they’ll face each other again. “I dunno, we play them four times a year, so I made sure to let him know that every year, four times, I’m gonna kick his ass.” Embiid said.
With this trade, the Nets are hoping to form a young nucleus consisting of Okafor, Russell, Lin, Stauskas and Dinwiddie. The Sixers, however, added another veteran presence down low in Trevor Booker.