After selecting center Jahlil Okafor out of Duke with the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers were thought to have landed another talented big man with a bright future in the league.
Unfortunately, things have panned out as anticipated for Philadelphia with Okafor becoming the odd man out and Joel Embiid being the center the team wants to build around along with Ben Simmons. The 76ers tried to ship Okafor elsewhere before the NBA trade deadline back in February to no avail.
Apparently, the team is still interested in trading the former Blue Devil if the right deal comes along. Team president Bryan Colangelo made that abundantly clear by saying the following, via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
“If a deal comes along that makes sense for both of us, then we will go ahead and make the deal,” Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said Friday of trading Okafor.
The 76ers brass talked to numerous teams during the regular season and seemed to be incredibly close to making a deal. Okafor was considered to be one player in the league that was destined to be traded by the deadline, but nothing came to fruition.
Rumors were swirling about the New Orleans Pelicans being interested in Okafor and on the verge of a deal with the deadline drawing near. In a surprising twist, the Pelicans acquired superstar DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings instead.
Heading toward the NBA Draft in 2015, the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to take Okafor with the No. 2 pick. The Lakers were able to keep their intentions under wraps until their selection was made with the team choosing to go with Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell rather than the Duke product.
A trade rumor surfaced hours before the NBA trade deadline with Cousins having being dealt to New Orleans. Los Angeles became a potential destination for Okafor once again, but the deadline came and went with no deal with Philadelphia.
The 76ers are obviously going to be open for business during the NBA offseason, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers show any interest in a potential deal for Okafor. The team seems content with Ivica Zubac and for good reason. Zubac showed a lot of promise in his rookie campaign becoming the starter before going down with a season-ending ankle injury.
Making a trade for Okafor doesn’t seem to make sense for the Lakers at this point. Anything can change during the summer, but a deal with Philadelphia could be highly unlikely.