Report: New Orleans Pelicans take a chance, sign free agent center Jahlil Okafor | Pelicans

Report: New Orleans Pelicans take a chance, sign free agent center Jahlil Okafor | Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are giving Jahlil Okafor one other likelihood.

But he’ll should earn it.

The former No. three total draft decide agreed to phrases with the Pelicans on Wednesday, in accordance with league sources. The Advocate first reported information of mutual curiosity on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-11 center will arrive in New Orleans for coaching camp with simply a partially assured contract, which incorporates a group choice for extending it into 2019-20, in accordance with sources. ESPN first reported the settlement and the phrases.

Kushner: For Pelicans, summer moves (and non-moves) leave more questions than answers

So, Okafor must earn his approach onto the roster throughout preseason. To achieve this, he should show the potential he flashed as a nationwide champion at Duke and a member of the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie group hasn’t washed away over two tumultuous seasons.

The 22-year outdated averaged simply 12.6 minutes final season with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, posting simply 6.four factors and rebounds in 28 video games. And regardless of understanding for no less than 4 groups this summer time, he was unable to generate a absolutely assured provide, permitting the Pelicans to achieve an settlement with him this week.

It’s a far cry from Okafor’s trajectory in the summertime of 2016. Back then, the 76ers’ high decide and NCAA All-American earned an All-Rookie choice by averaging 17.5 factors and rebounds as a common starter, using his giant body to construct a fame as one of many league’s rising large males.

However, his minutes dwindled in 2016-17 as he did not mesh alongside celebrity large man Joel Embiid. Okafor’s protection additionally by no means improved because the league grew to become smaller, typically exposing his sluggish ft and incapacity to modify onto ball-handlers.

The NBA is getting smaller.

Last season, after dropping deep within the depth chart and ongoing variations with group administration, Okafor requested a commerce, and the 76ers despatched him and Nik Stauskas to Brooklyn in trade for Trevor Booker and a second-round decide.

“He can go play basketball again,” 76ers coach Brett Brown mentioned on the time.

But, Okafor didn’t present any revelatory indicators with the Nets. He did not constantly crack the rotation a 28-54 group.

Now, he’ll arrive in New Orleans with what may very well be his final likelihood at saving himself from “bust” standing.

While it’s unlikely (if he makes the roster in coaching camp) that Okafor will log main minutes with a entrance court docket that includes Anthony Davis, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic, he might fill a want within the Pelicans’ rotation.

New Orleans at present lacks a conventional, wholesome center since DeMarcus Cousins bolted to the Golden State Warriors in free company and Alexis Ajinca missed the whole lot of the 2017-18 marketing campaign. Emeka Okafor, a distant cousin of Jahlil, hasn’t been relinquished but, however the 35-year outdated performed sparingly down the stretch of final season.

Jahlil Okafor, in the meantime, might serve a function towards larger lineups and might play alongside any of the Pelicans’ different large males. He’s additionally proven a capability to attain from the low block and will function a mismatch alternative if he’s capable of rediscover his kind.

The Pelicans will open coaching camp in late September and start a five-game preseason schedule on Sept. 30.

The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis mentioned he was stunned by his group’s losses in free company, saying he discovered on TV that DeMarcus Cousins had sig…