Jahlil Okafor trade grades: Nets take worthwhile risk; Sixers get what they can
The long-awaited Jahlil Okafor trade has finally gone down. According to multiple reports, to the Brooklyn Nets along with Nik Stauskas and a 2019 second-round pick in exchange for veteran forward Trevor Booker. It ends a long saga between the Sixers and Okafor that’s gotten ugly in recent months, and both parties can finally move on.
Let’s grade the trade.
Brooklyn Nets: A
Booker is a good player, but let’s be honest — the Nets have nothing to lose here. They get Okafor, the 2015 No. 3 overall pick who averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a rookie, and they’ll have four months to see whether he’s someone they think could be part of their future plans. People were talking about Okafor as the second-best prospect in his draft class before he fell into oblivion, so it’s worth the gamble for a bad Nets team with no potential NBA superstars outside of possibly D’Angelo Russell.
They also add Stauskas, who was the No. 8 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in 2014 but has yet to prove that he can be a useful member of even a bad team’s rotation. They’re taking a flier that the up-tempo pace and Kenny Atkinson’s coaching may help Stauskas turn into the offensive threat he was expected to become.
The fact that they also got a second-round pick thrown into the trade is a win for the Nets, who need all the help they can get.
Philadelphia 76ers: B
Booker is a mobile big man who can switch on screens, pull down rebounds and get out on the break for a team with the fourth-highest pace in the NBA. But mostly this pickup is about the intangibles — Booker will add toughness, hustle and a veteran presence to the young Sixers core. It will also allow the team more flexibility to allow Dario Saric to come off the bench if that’s what coach Brett Brown decides to do.
Okafor’s trade value had decreased considerably since both he and the Sixers made it clear that he wasn’t going to be in Philly for much longer, but it still stings a bit to only get a mid-level forward in exchange for the No. 3 pick in the draft. Booker might have been the best option on the table right now, but you have to think that if the 76ers had handled the Okafor situation a bit more delicately, they may have gotten more out of the deal.
Instead they had to give up Stauskas and a second-rounder — not exactly vital ingredients but still a lot to ask for a player of Booker’s caliber. Overall though, this was probably the best that the Sixers could have done given the mess that they were in. In the end they got a potential rotation player in exchange for three assets that likely weren’t going to be part of their future plans, so they’ll take it and move on with The Process.