When reports came in on Amir Johnson signing with the Philadelphia 76ers, one of the first things that came to mind is what it means for members of their front court. Since Jahlil Okafor is the guy who has been the subject of constant trade rumors (and near trades) in the past, he sprung to mind when the deal was closed.
Apparently that wasn’t an unfounded thought. During a TV appearance on ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski described a scenario in which Okafor would have been part of the signing itself, with the third-year center going to Boston as part of a sign-and-trade.
There had actually been talks—sources tell me—that there had been talks between Philadelphia and Boston on a sign-and-trade, that would have sent Jahlil Okafor to the Celtics, and they would have done a sign-and-trade for Amir Johnson, but that never materialized.
Boston has had talks with Okafor for really almost a year, several months certainly back to the last trade deadline. But that didn’t materialize, they just did the straight one-year deal with Amir Johnson.
It’s not completely clear whether that trade would have been straight up, but if that was the case, it would give you a pretty clear picture of how low Okafor’s value is around the league. A 30 year-old forward whose body has started to give out on him is not exactly a blockbuster package.
I would imagine something else has to be involved, because if the Sixers were prepared to make that sort of deal, they probably would have moved on from him already. At the very least, the connection of Okafor to Boston seems real, despite his, well, troubled history there.
If you’d rather get the video version of Woj’s Johnson story, you can watch his brief TV hit here.