SIXERS TO OKAFOR: YOU’RE OUTTA’ HERE AFTER 2017-18!

By Steve Kelly

The Sixers have essentially given up on 2014 first-round draft pick Jahlil Okafor.

They’ve decided not exercise the fourth-year, $6.3 million option for center Okafor, ESPN has reported.

Which means that he will become a free agent after the 2017-18 season unless they can trade him, which they’ve been trying to do for two years with no success.

Okafor will join Anthony Bennett (first overall pick in 2013) and Hasheem Thabeet (second overall pick in 2009) as other first-round picks in the top three that did not have their fourth-year options exercised.

No other third overall pick has had his fourth year declined.

The Sixers have been trying to ship Okafor because he had fallen out of the rotation. The frontcourt logjam of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric leaves Okafor expendable.

The team announced it picked up the third-year options for Simmons, Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, as well as the fourth-year option for Justin Anderson.

Okafor, 21, averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game his rookie season in 2015-16 and was named to the league’s All-Rookie team. With his time reduced from 30 minutes per game to 22.7 last season, he slipped to 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. He was getting 22 minutes per game again this year and averaging only 10.0 points but 9.0 rebounds.

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