Sixers coping while Okafor trade talks persist

Sixers coping while Okafor trade talks persist

CHARLOTTE – As the 76ers concluded their shootaround this morning, the absences seemed to outweigh those who were present.

Joel Embiid stayed back in Philadelphia to rest his left knee, which has a torn meniscus. Jahlil Okafor stayed behind as a trade of him appears imminent.

“Strangely, it isn’t (odd),” coach Brett Brown said of the Okafor situation. “It’s honest with everybody in front of me. Once we have that, all of us can talk like we’re talking.

“Jahlil Okafor’s situation is transparent. He’s in the middle of being discussed in trade scenarios and so I felt that it complicates things to play him and now this is continuing on and that’s the reason he isn’t here and we all know that sometimes things don’t happen. To talk to him, selfishly, is comfortable because it is all true.”

So what if a trade doesn’t happen? What if team president Bryan Colangelo can’t find an offer that he deems fit for the third overall pick from 2015? Can Okafor come back and play for this team?

“Absolutely,” Brown said, “and I’m able to do that mostly because of Jahlil. He’ll come back in and be welcomed with open arms by teammates that like him and respect him and they are friends. He’ll come back in to a coaching staff that likes him and respects him because we care for him. He still is ours until somebody tells us he isn’t.”

As of the end of shootaround at the Spectrum Center, Okafor was still part of the team, as no trade had been announced. So for the time being, it’s just a team moving forward without a couple of its better players, something this organization has gotten way too familiar with over the past four seasons.

“Rumors have been going on for a while now and they decided to sit him now,” said Gerald Henderson, like Okafor a Duke product. “It’s different. I haven’t really seen it done like that. But there’s not really anything, as a player, that you can worry about. It’s our job to go out there and play. Jah’s my friend, so I hate to see that he is not on the court with us. Hopefully, it means for him that he’ll be moving to a better situation.”  

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Published at Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:58:04 +0000

Categories: Sixers

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