Report: Emeka Okafor out until midseason, still drawing heavy interest as free agent

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It’s no secret why Emeka Okafor has yet to be signed.

He’s the wrong side of 30.

He missed all of last season due to injury.

He relies on leaping ability.

Oh, and there’s more. Marc Stein of ESPN:

I’m likewise told that Okafor is unlikely to sign anywhere until midseason as he continues to recover from his herniated disk.

But it’s not all bad news for Okafor, who was traded by the Wizards to the Suns before his lost last season began. Stein:

Roughly half of the league, I’m told, has registered interest this summer in Okafor

The list of pursuers for the defensive-minded center, according to NBA front office sources, includes LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers as well as LeBron’s old friends in Miami.

Said one source: “He’ll be in high demand when he’s back.”

That sounds a lot like agent-drive spin, but it’s also believable. Okafor is big and respected in the locker room, two traits that push players toward long careers.

The Cavaliers and Heat, both focused on short-term goals, could use a player like Okafor. He’s likely to draw only minimum-salary offers, so they won’t get outbid. And as frontcourt depth, he provides a low-risk, medium-reward option.