'Sources' of frustration: Jahlil Okafor weighs in on trade rumors

Jahlil Okafor has heard his name tossed around in trade talks. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jahlil Okafor has heard his name tossed around in trade talks. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

It seems like ever since Jahlil Okafor entered the NBA last year, his name has been bandied about in trade talks. Whether the sweet-scoring big man likes that or not, he made it clear this weekend that he really doesn’t care too much for reporting on whether he likes it or not.

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After an offseason full of rumors that he might be on the move if new Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo could just find a trade partner willing to take him on, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA draft responded to a new report alleging he’s displeased with what’s going on in Philly by pointing out what he perceives to be inconsistencies in the stories swapped by forever-chatty anonymous sources:

Okafor’s string of tweets apparently comes in response to this recent item from Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier-Times, that irked Okafor:

As for Jahlil Okafor and [Nerlens] Noel still being on the roster, Colangelo clearly didn’t get what he perceived as fair value in trade talks prior to, on and since draft night.

An NBA source said Colangelo “tried like hell to trade Okafor.” As a result, Okafor is “upset and his people are upset.”

Colangelo and the Sixers then turned their attention to Noel, but nothing happened there, either.

To some degree, you can understand Okafor’s frustration here; after all, it’s just the latest bit of static in a first NBA year that hasn’t exactly unfolded the way he might have hoped.

Okafor’s maiden professional voyage began on an awkward note with his selection by the 76ers, who used the No. 3 pick on the 6-foot-11 Duke star despite having picked big men Noel and Joel Embiid in the top half of the lottery in the previous two years, all but ensuring a positional crush should all three ever become healthy and available at the same time. From those inauspicious beginnings, the imbalanced and talent-poor young Sixers embarked on a historically horrendous and dispiriting start to the 2015-16 campaign, losing their first 18 games of the season and sitting at 1-30 with the NBA’s worst net rating on Christmas.

With the mounting on-court frustration came off-court troubles, as the 19-year-old Okafor found himself in the middle of multiple dangerous incidents away from the gym that resulted in him receiving a two-game suspension in early December. Okafor’s extracurricular activities abated after his return as he resumed putting up points and pulling down rebounds for the woeful Sixers, but a March meniscus tear in his right knee ended a disappointing rookie season that reportedly included at least one attempt to ship Okafor out.

Those rumblings continued after the season, with Colangelo — who took over after the April resignation of Sam Hinkie, the executive who had drafted Okafor and the architect of Philadelphia’s unprecedented sink-to-the-bottom years-long rebuilding effort — reportedly eager to move either Okafor or Noel before June’s 2016 NBA draft.

Neither big man moved. According to Moore’s source, that irked Okafor; he seems to take issue with that assessment.

As I noted earlier Monday in discussing the reported impending arrival of Croatian star forward and 2014 first-round draft pick Dario Saric in Philadelphia, the 76ers’ frontcourt looks awfully crowded at the moment, with Noel, Okafor, reportedly-healthy-at-last 2014 first-rounder Joel Embiid, 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons and a host of other players vying for minutes on a Sixers team hoping to take a great leap forward after three straight abysmal seasons. It might not be fair or enjoyable, but it’s the way of the transaction-watching world in 2016 for such sourced reports to serve as a source of frustration for those involved; given that glut of big-man talent, and the Sixers’ relative lack of viable playmaking and shooting options in the backcourt and on the wing, it’s likely that Okafor, Noel and perhaps even the rest of Philly’s young forwards and centers might find continue to hear their names tossed about … until one or more of them actually gets moved, at least.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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