(PHILADELPHIA) — After the team opted not to exercise his fourth-year option, Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor said he wanted his time in Philadelphia to come to an end.
“Honestly, I did not want them to pick up my option,” Okafor told reporters Wednesday. “This is my life. This is my career, and I’m not getting an opportunity here, which is fine. The team looks great and I’m not a part fo that. I want the team to do great things, but at the same time I want to play.”
Okafor was drafted third overall in 2015, ahead of New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis. He joins a small list of first round draftees to have their fourth-year options declined — a list that includes busts like Anthony Bennet (2013) and Hasheem Thabeet (2009).
Okafor has appeared in just one game this year.
“I’ve asked for a buyout,” he told reporters Wednesday. “I had a talk with [team president] Bryan [Colangelo] yesterday, just because I want to play. I know that’s not being here. I know a buyout is one of the options where I get an opportunity to play elsewhere and to get on the court. But Bryan didn’t think that would be a good idea because he said then they would be giving me away to a team for free, but that’s pretty much where we stand right now.”
Still, Okafor said he wants to either be bought out or to be traded. He also said the team waited to long to deal him, turning down other offers.
Okafor averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in his rookie year before suffering a knee injury. He saw his playing time decrease last year due to health and a glut of big men on the team’s roster.
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