Recent reports indicate that the Philadelphia 76ers are willing to trade out-of-favor center Jahlil Okafor for a second round pick. Okafor has essentially been buried on Philly’s bench, but the former number three overall pick still has potential. The seemingly low asking price seems appealing, and Okafor is young enough that he seems like a potential boost to the Sacramento Kings front court. Naturally, some Kings fans are interested.
However, there’s an obscure CBA rule that makes that trade a terrible idea.
If Okafor is bought out, team that signs him can pay him in July with cap room. If a team trades for him, max they can pay is a lil over $6m— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 1, 2017
Team can't pay Okafor more than his declined option - if they trade for him - period. It's a loophole closure https://t.co/JpjGqiE6Iw— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 1, 2017
Because of a CBA rule, if the Kings trade for Okafor they would be limited to a 1 year, $6.3 million dollar offer this summer. That’s the amount of the option that Philadelphia declined. But while the Kings would be limited, other suitors would not. Okafor will be an unrestricted free agent.
What Philadelphia did by declining Okafor’s option is make him essentially untradeable. No team should give up an asset for less than a season of Okafor. If Okafor does nothing, you’ve lost an asset for a player who doesn’t help you. If Okafor thrives, you’ll be hamstrung in your ability to re-sign him.
Philly seems hell bent on waiting as long as possible before agreeing to a buyout with Okafor. At that point he’ll be a free agent, and whoever signs him can use their cap space to retain Okafor this next summer.
It’s an idea that looks good on paper, but the fine print makes this a deal the Kings should steer clear of.