Celtics reportedly won't give up first-round pick for Jahlil Okafor

Celtics reportedly won't give up first-round pick for Jahlil Okafor

The Celtics have been linked to 76ers big man Jahlil Okafor for the better part of the last year. But with Philadelphia burying Okafor on the bench and declining his option for next season, the Celtics apparently won’t mortgage any significant assets to bring the 2015 first-round selection aboard.

The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn reports the Celtics don’t want to surrender a first-round pick for Okafor, who they view more as a project. The 21-year-old center has only played in one game this season and has seemingly fallen out of favor in Philadelphia. He will also be a free agent at the end of the year, so there’s no guarantee he’ll stick around past 2018, either. 

Even though the Celtics reportedly don’t want to give up a lot for Okafor, a trade could still be completed, because the 76ers probably don’t want to buy out Okafor’s contract and then watch him sign with another team for no compensation. Okafor enjoyed an impactful rookie season, averaging 17.5 points per game and grabbing seven rebounds per contest. But injuries derailed his sophomore campaign, as he only played in 50 games and averaged 11.8 points per night. 

Much like last year, the Celtics have struggled to control the paint over the first few weeks of the season. They’re only averaging 39.9 points inside, which is the fourth-lowest total in the NBA. Adding Okafor would give them an additional inside presence as they gear up for another run in the Eastern Conference.

But with an eight-game winning streak, the Celtics’ inability to dominate the paint doesn’t appear to be an achilles heel. They have the luxury to wait it out with Okafor until an attractive deal is presented. 

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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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