It appears Jahlil Okafor’s time wasting away on the Philadelphia 76ers bench is coming to a close as the team swung a deal on Thursday with the Brooklyn Nets to send the disgruntled big man, along with Nik Stauskas and a second-round selection in exchange for Trevor Booker. On the surface, this is one of those rare deals that makes sense for both sides. Philadelphia sends away a player that has started to complain publicly in exchange for a player in Booker who plays tough, effective basketball. As for Brooklyn, general manager Sean Marks has once again turned the little assets he has to acquire a young player that could become a cornerstone for the team in the future.
A former No. 3 pick in 2015, Okafor was actually drafted one selection after his now-teammate D’Angelo Russell. Despite a rookie season in which he displayed a rare scoring touch, Okafor simply wasn’t a fit in Philadelphia and with Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons in tow, there was no way for him to get any playing time. In Brooklyn, expect Okafor to take advantage of a relatively thin frontcourt and force his way into playing time sooner rather than later. The Nets certainly could use Okafor’s scoring touch to take the load off of their backcourt, and although he’s not a great fit for their motion offense, expect coach Kenny Atkinson to find a way to take advantage of Okafor’s rare skills in the paint.
Overall, this move is one that could work wonders for both teams. Okafor gives the Brooklyn frontcourt a much-needed infusion of youth, and Stauskas could find himself in the rotation as a solid all-around player. As for Philadelphia, Booker gives them a big man that brings a tough, physical presence and he should continue to play solid basketball whether as a starter or coming off the bench. Only time will tell how this move ultimately works out, but right now, it looks like a win-win situation.