It’s been a couple of weeks since we heard from Jahlil Okafor. Or rather, a couple of weeks since we wrote about him. There are only so many ways to say “Jahlil Okafor thinks he should be bought out and he’s right” before your brain starts to melt out of your ears. With that said, Jahlil Okafor thinks he should be bought out and he’s right.
In a late night story posted by Adrian Wojnarowski just as Sunday turned to Monday, Jah went on the offensive, telling the world - and basketball Woj’s audience is everyone - a couple of things. First, he wants everyone to know that he still wants to be bought out, natch. Second, he says that he’s spoken to current NBA players and vets, and “one thing I've heard them say is that what's going on with me isn't right and they've never seen anything like this before.” He’s not wrong. In fact, recently, the closest parallel may be the semi-opposite stand-off with Sam Hinkie and Andrei Kirilenko, where AK47 requested a buyout and refused to report to the team because, well, it’s a really long story. It didn’t end well.
“I would like for them to just send me somewhere where I can get an opportunity,” Okafor reiterated to Woj. “I've done everything they've asked of me and I would just like to get an opportunity to play with a trade or a buyout. I just hope something happens quickly.” Quickly came and went months ago, pal. Jah continued:
"This is my third year in the NBA, and I know it's a business. I don't know if it's fair or not...I know it's business, but in my eyes, I don't know if it's good business."
Bryan Colangelo told Woj that he continues to try to “find a more suitable spot for [Jah],” though Woj reports that more than half of the teams in the NBA are interested in Okafor, but not for the price of any kind of draft asset. But Colangelo is “holding out the possibility that Okafor's $5 million salary could be packaged as part of a bigger deal before the Feb. 9 trade deadline,” since he doesn’t want to (and kinda can’t) bring money back in the deal.
It’s not a surprise that teams wouldn’t part with an asset to acquire Jah. No matter how talented a GM may believe him to be, he’s shown himself to be a project on the court and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in this coming offseason. If Jah can put your team over the hump this year, he’s got value to you, but that situation doesn’t exist.
I don’t find it as far-fetched as some that Sam Hinkie handling players (and agents) the way he did thinking there wouldn’t be consequences was the equivalent of waltzing into the Red Wedding thinking a simple “my bad” would do. But bringing in Colangelo (x2) was supposed to fix that. It was done to make the Sixers be the NBA team’s NBA team. A stand-up citizen. Bryan has done some good work since coming along, but this is very public, very ugly, and could leave a stink over the team that’s hard to shake in the future.