NBA rumors: Pelicans interested in former Sixers center Jahlil Okafor

Last season was an absolute whirlwind for former third overall pick Jahlil Okafor.

Okafor was stuck to the bench with the Sixers, playing only in two games, before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets.

With the Nets, things did not get better for Okafor as he struggled to get on the court. The former Duke standout averaged 6.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games.

In free agency, Okafor did not get any offers, despite the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls showing interest and holding a tryout in Las Vegas for multiple teams. 

But he has reportedly drawn interest from several teams in the Chinese Basketball Association.

All that being said, it appears, as Okafor might be able to latch on with a team before training camp begins. 

Scott Kushner of The Advocate reported on Tuesday that the New Orleans Pelicans are discussing signing Okafor to a contract.

New Orleans decided not to bring back DeMarcus Cousins in free agency and opted to sign forward Julius Randle to a two-year contract.

Without Cousins on the roster, New Orleans really doesn’t have a true back to the basket big man. This is where Okafor could come into play. 

What can Jahlil Okafor bring to the Pelicans?

Before being relegated to the bench last season with the Sixers, Jahlil Okafor made the All-Rookie first team back in 2015. As a rookie, he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game.

The 6-foot-11 center was an offensive force in the low post, doing whatever he wanted to other teams’ big men. However, the main issue that has plagued Okafor throughout his young career is the inability to play defense.

For him to make the Pelicans’ roster, Okafor has to show a willingness to play defense along with the ability to knock down perimeter jump shots. 

A couple of seasons ago, the Pelicans reportedly tried to trade for Okafor, but a deal never came to fruition.

If Jahlil Okafor wants to continue his career in the NBA and not playing overseas in the Chinese Basketball Association, he needs to change the perception of how people view him as a player.

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