Report: Emeka Okafor to sign with Pelicans for remainder of the season
The New Orleans Pelicans will sign veteran center Emeka Okafor for the remainder of the season, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. The big man had been part of two 10-day contracts and shown promise as a rebounder and defender, filling in for the injured DeMarcus Cousins.
Okafor had been away from the NBA since 2013, due to various injuries, but has managed to average 3.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game as a force in the middle, making up for the defense provided by the All-Star.
The 35-year-old has shown plenty of gas left in the tank, an upside GMs once saw when they drafted him No. 2 overall in 2004, after his Connecticut Huskies won the NCAA Tournament in spectacular fashion.
Now slowed a bit from his age and injury history, Okafor has still managed to make the most of his limited minutes in the Big Easy, rebounding tenaciously and making defense his calling card, as his offense slowly comes together with more reps on the floor.
The Pelicans have showed a sense of urgency when it comes to making up for the loss of Cousins, snagging sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic from the Chicago Bulls prior to the trade deadline and following up by keeping Okafor, who should bolster their defensive ranks, as they hope to hold onto the eighth and last playoff spot in a very tough Western Conference.