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Nets Acquire Jahlil Okafor, Stauskas from 76ers in Exchange For Booker

Okafor Curt Johnson via Flickr


Nets Acquire Jahlil Okafor – Rapid Reaction

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Jahlil Okafor, granting his long-anticipated wish.  The Philadelphia 76ers finally traded the No. 3 overall pick of the 2015 draft in exchange for forward Trevor Booker. The Nets also acquired guard Nik Stauskas, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and a 2019 second round draft pick.

Okafor’s playing opportunities this year have been scarce, appearing in only two games. Once considered to be an integral piece of “The Process,” he began to fall rapidly down the depth chart due in large part to the emergence of center Joel Embiid.

Okafor’s Fallout

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The fallout began when Philadelphia declined its team option on Okafor for next season resulting in his representatives asking for a trade. Team president Bryan Colangelo announced that the 76ers had a deal in place with an undisclosed team last season until it fell apart in the final minutes. This would cause a sense of awkwardness within the organization when Okafor didn’t even travel with the team during the trade deadline, according to reports.

Okafor once showed signs of a legitimate NBA player when he led the Sixers in scoring in his rookie season in 2015, even making the First Team All-NBA Rookie team. The following season, he would appear in 55 games, but there were periods where he couldn’t gel with Embiid in the lineup. That led to an accumulation of DNPs that flowed into this season.

The rest is history as the 76ers are still undergoing a massive rebuild with Ben Simmons and Embiid leading the way. Now Okafor has a chance to resurrect his once-promising career. He played in 105 games, starting 81 with the Sixers and averaged 14.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 26.2 minutes while shooting 51% from the field.

Stauskas and Booker

Stauskas joined the 76ers in 2015 in a trade with the Sacramento Kings but has put up numbers far from the expectations of a top 10 pick. He is currently averaging less than 1 point per game, appearing in only six of Philly’s 23 contests.

Trevor Booker, on the other hand, has shown a greater sense of consistency. The No. 23 overall pick in the 2010 draft averaged 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds during his time in Brooklyn.

“I think we’re getting a man. I think we’re getting a veteran that has been there, done that. There is a level of toughness and versatility that interests me,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said about Booker during his press conference yesterday.

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What Happens Next?

The Nets acquired Jahlil Okafor, so what’s next? Time will tell who comes away as winners and losers of this trade, but I feel like it will benefit both teams. Philadelphia adds a proven veteran presence to the locker room and a quality bench player. Although he is on the downside of his career, he can still add value on the defensive side of the ball. Booker also has an opportunity to become a mentor for a roster that has an average age of only 25.

For the former Duke Blue Devil, he now has a chance to thrive in Brooklyn and become the focal point of that team. The Nets current roster is mostly compiled of castoffs and washouts, with the exception of guard D’Angelo Russell. It will be interesting to see if Russell and Okafor establish a bond and provide hope for a franchise that has been very lackluster throughout the past couple of years.

The 76ers next game is against the hottest team in the NBA in the Cleveland Cavaliers this Saturday. We’ll see if the lifted weight of Okafor’s baggage provides a spark for a team still trying to establish an identity. The Nets next game will also be this Saturday, as they take on the Miami Heat. Now that Okafor has been “freed,” look for him to play with the drive and passion we saw during his rookie campaign.

Tell us what you think about the status of this trade and what it means!