Colangelo’s asking price has steadily dropped for Okafor, from two first-round picks to a first and a solid player to where it stands now, a second-round pick, league sources said.
Colangelo is holding out the possibility that Okafor’s $5 million salary could be packaged as part of a bigger deal before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, even if he can’t find a singular move involving Okafor, league sources said.
76ers president Bryan Colangelo torpedoed Okafor’s value by declining his fourth-year option. Teams are mostly better off waiting to sign him in unrestricted free agency this summer rather than trading for him now. Nobody is offering a second-rounder, as proven by Okafor not being traded yet.
But Colangelo is right: Okafor’s value-neutral expiring contract could be useful in facilitating a larger trade before the deadline. It’s not worth buying him out now and closing that door. Philadelphia could always buy out Okafor after the deadline if no deal emerges.
The question, though: How much time did Colangelo waste seeking multiple first-rounders before getting stuck where he is now? We don’t know precisely what was offered and when, but Okafor believes the 76ers passed on viable trades. That’s part of what contributes to the bad blood.