Jahlil Okafor Trade: Celtics refuse to part with first-round pick

By @saihoops on
Jahlil Okafor
Feb 26, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor (8) holds the ball away from Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley (1) during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Reuters/Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics have no intention to give up a first-round draft pick for Philadelphia 76ers centre Jahlil Okafor, according to a report. Okafor, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has been on the trading block since coach Brett Brown decided to rule out the big man out the rotation. 

According to The Boston Globe, the Celtics view Okafor as a project and not an immediate contributor. Boston's front court rotation consists of All-Star Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes, Semi Ojeleye, Guerschon Yabusele and Daniel Theis. Okafor would struggle to find playing time in a Boston.

"The Celtics have long held interest in Okafor, but as more of a project than an immediate contributor. Boston is also not willing to part with a first-round pick for Okafor," NBA insider Gary Washburn wrote in a report published Saturday. 

Jahlil Okafor Trade: Celtics view big man as a project 

Okafor, renowned for his polished post-up moves, has appeared in just one regular season game thus far. He lost his spot in the rotation due to Philadelphia's frontcourt logjam of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Amir Johnson and Dario Saric. Last week, Brown told reporters that Johnson, the offseason free agency acquisition, would serve as the backup centre in the rotation. 

Prior to the season, several analysts felt Okafor would have a breakout season, especially after undergoing a physical transformation. However, Washburn's report hints that coaches still don't view Okafor as a viable big man for the modern day NBA. 

"Okafor has gotten into premium shape and has the ability to run the floor, but he hasn’t attempted a 3-pointer since his rookie season. The question for interested teams is whether Okafor can serve as a consistent post presence. There are plenty of teams willing to give a 21-year-old former top prospect an opportunity. But the 76ers aren’t giving him away for free," the report adds.

Jahlil Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds as a rookie and made the All-Rookie First Team. However, he has been viewed as a reserve big since Joel Embiid's debut at the start of the 2016-17 season. Okafor received 33 starts last season and averaged a tally of 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. Stay tuned for the latest Jahlil Okafor Trade News.

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