Report: Jahlil Okafor agrees to deal with Pelicans
Free agent center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will have a partial guarantee on this season and a team-option for the 2019-20 season.
Both sides were in conversations for a potential training camp deal, but this is a slightly bigger gamble by the Pelicans, who are hoping the 21-year-old will pan out for them, giving them a legitimate presence at center, limiting Anthony Davis playing out of his preferred power forward position.
The Pelicans had to address a need after DeMarcus Cousins opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors, leaving an empty spot to fill.
New Orleans was quick to add firepower by signing Julius Randle to a two-year deal, but he’s too small to play center and too unrefined to play the small forward position, leaving the team with the ultimate need at the center position.
Okafor has been a castaway for the past two seasons after multiple injuries and reports of his lack of work ethic have vastly hurt his value, receiving a rather short second-ever deal, rather than a full-fledged extension of his rookie contract.
The Pelicans only have 12 guaranteed contracts on the roster, as center Emeka Okafor (no relation) is in a non-guaranteed contract and DeAndre Liggins on a partial one, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
If Jahlil can show an improved work ethic, the right conditioning, and the ability to fill the role — he will have a pretty decent chance to make the final roster, barring any injuries.