Another day, another NBA trade rumor involving the Boston Celtics. The latest: Jahlil Okafor.
With Joel Embiid blowing up and the 76ers already cursed with more big men than they can find minutes for, Okafor is once again on the trade block. And according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the C’s are interested.
“Okafor is kind of still there,” Stein told ESPN Radio. “He’s been so out there that you tend to think Philadelphia will find something in the next three days where they move him. I’ve heard that Boston has still given that some consideration. Chicago’s another team that’s been said to have shown some Okafor interest.”
All due respect, Okafor makes little sense for the Celtics once you look past the fact that the former No. 3 overall picks is tall. The Celtics can’t rebound, but neither can Okafor. He’s averaging a paltry 4.8 rebounds per game, and his 7.5 rebounds per 36 minutes puts him right in line with Celtics Avery Bradley (7.1) and Al Horford (7.2).
Neither is Okafor a rim protector (1.1 blocks per game) or floor spacer (1-for-6 on 3-pointers lifetime). He’s considered slow defensively, he’s a throwback post scorer, and he doesn’t take opposing big men away from the basket, like Horford or Kelly Olynyk do, which means he’d just be clogging the lane for Isaiah Thomas, who needs space to operate.
So yeah, I’m not buying the C’s having any interest in Okafor. He fills exactly zero of their needs. Don’t let last year’s 17.5 points a game fool you — the Sixers were terrible, and someone needed to score. Now that they know Embiid represents their future, alongside injured No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, once he gets healthy, Okafor’s numbers will continue to suffer.
He’s not a fit in Boston, and certainly not if the price is one of the Nets picks.