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Option Watch: Sixers Decline Okafor’s Option, Exercise Simmons, Luwawau-Cabarrot, Saric

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The Jahlil Okafor era is officially in the home stretch.

NBA: Preseason-Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This is about how we expected things to shake out.

According to a release from the Sixers, the team has picked up the third-year options of Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot while declining the fourth-year option of Jahlil Okafor. A team source said that Okafor’s $6 million+ on the books next season could be a hindrance in offering a max contract this offseason.

Okafor has been on the outs with the team more or less since day one. Not long after being picked third overall - a contentious selection that some believe wasn’t Sam Hinkie’s decision alone - Okafor received national attention (the bad kind) when multiple videos of a fist-fight after a game in Boston arose. Not long after that a story broke of Jah speeding on the Ben Franklin Bridge and previously having a gun pulled on him in an earlier, separate confrontation in Philly. Jah and Nerlens Noel couldn’t seem to properly share the floor, and once Joel Embiid was healthy and showed the world who he was, there wasn’t room for either of them. Nerlens was traded for a pick and Justin Anderson (whose fourth-year option was picked up earlier today) and Jah was shopped, aggressively. He was even asked to stay home when the team went on a road trip, while everyone was convinced his days in Philly were over. Nothing happened.

This offseason, Okafor slimmed down, adopted a vegan lifestyle, and played well in preseason. He opened the year with a healthy DNP and hasn’t been in the rotation. Last week, Brett Brown told everyone flat out that it’s “the bottom line [that] he is not in the rotation.”

A team source says the Sixers still hope to find a landing spot for Jah where he can get minutes, but a deal has to work for both sides. So far, that deal hasn’t been found, and with Okafor entering unrestricted free agency this coming offseason, it may be unlikely that it can be.