The Jahlil Okafor saga finally came to an end on Thursday. Two-and-a-half disappointing, sometimes controversial, heartbreaking and awkward years in Philadelphia were finally, mercifully written into history with a pen when the Sixers sent Okafor to the Brooklyn Nets for Trevor Booker.
The No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft had become an odd sort of outcast in Philly. He had only appeared in two games all season. He was the third of three highly-touted big men drafted by the Sixers, and didn’t fit on the court with the other two. He seemed to be the odd man out off the court as well.
The trade, in a way, was a relief for all involved. But it’s not like Sixers players had any hard feelings toward Okafor.
Joel Embiid, the last of the three highly-drafted big men still standing in Philly, was asked about the trade prior to Thursday’s game against the Lakers. He said he heard about it just like everybody else, and texted Okafor after he did:
Embiid's message to Okafor: I love you, and I'm going to kick your ass. pic.twitter.com/hTYwezSsCd
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) December 7, 2017
“Love you. New beginnings. Love you,” Embiid said of what he told Okafor. “Good luck. And I made sure to let him know that I was gon’ kick his ass on the Nets.”
Okafor’s first matchup with his former team is slated for Jan. 31 in Brooklyn.