Jahlil Okafor is getting another chance — but he’s going to have to prove he still has a fit in the NBA to make it work.
The New Orleans Pelicans are bringing the 2015 No. 3 pick in for training camp, but on a partially guaranteed deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Free-agent center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told ESPN.
A source told ESPN that Okafor’s deal includes a partial guarantee for the 2018-19 season and a team option for the following season.
Okafor played for both the Sixers and Nets last season, was not healthy much of the time, and was on the court for just 353 minutes total all season (across 26 games).
It’s a good roll of the dice by the Pelcians, with little downside for them.
There is a rotation spot available in New Orleans if Okafor can show he’s healthy and earn it. Anthony Davis is going to start at center (with Nikola Mirotic at the four), then when he goes to the bench Julius Randle may get some small-ball minutes at the five, plus Cheick Diallo and Alexis Ajinca are on the roster, but there are minutes available. Okafor needs to show he can run the floor and play the up-tempo style the Pelicans employ.
The game has quickly evolved away from Okafor’s below the rim, back-to-the-basket offensive game, plus he has been a liability on defense. However, he can set picks and roll to the rim and find ways to contribute.
If he can find enough, he will play next season in New Orleans, but it’s on him now to prove he has real NBA value.