Prior to landing DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings, the New Orleans Pelicans were linked to a number of centers rumored to be available prior the 2017 trade deadline including Brook Lopez, Nikola Vucevic and Jahlil Okafor. According to reports, the third overall pick from the 2015 NBA Draft came awfully close to joining Anthony Davis in the backcourt, but that deal fell apart because the Pelicans and Philadelphia 76ers couldn’t come to an agreement on draft pick protections.
Is that right?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the explosive accusations by now which emanated from an article of The Ringer — The Curious Case of Bryan Colangelo and the Secret Twitter Account — that implicates the Sixers General Manager, Bryan Coangelo, in possibly divulging confidential matters, publicly painting some Sixers players in a negative light and throwing continuous shade at former GM Sam Hinkie and Toronto’s current GM Masai Ujiri.
Regardless of what the evidence eventually says about Coangelo’s role in these serious allegations, it’s interesting to note that the social media accounts in question indicated that Jahlil Okafor would have become a member of the Pelicans were it not for failing a routine trade physical.
unless something happened with Okafor's physicals and the trade fell through.— Eric jr (@AlVic40117560) February 13, 2017
i am telling you that is the only possible explanation. Team ask for xrays and MRI to show THEIR docs and ensurance— Eric jr (@AlVic40117560) February 16, 2017
Conceivably, had Okafor passed the medical evaluations in question, Cousins would have never come to New Orleans. #DoItBigger could have instead morphed into some version of #PrayForJahsKnee. Worse, maybe the Pelicans would have never reached the 2018 postseason — taking that initial big step of producing a winner around a core of Davis, Jrue Holiday and others might have never materialized.
Of course, this all depends upon the accuracy of the unknown Twitter account(s). Inside the linked Ringer article, a source completely downplayed the validity of the failed physical argument.
One source familiar with Okafor trade negotiations between the Sixers and the New Orleans Pelicans told The Ringer that the source was not aware of any failed physical for Okafor, and that the deal fell through because Colangelo and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps could not agree on pick protections.
Whatever the truth may be, realize New Orleans did do their due diligence if proceeding down this line of thinking. In finding something physically wrong with Okafor, the Pelicans rejected going down a likely ill-fated path. Dell Demps and the front office avoided a headache, but it seems Bryan Coangelo’s is probably just getting started.