Emeka Okafor has sat out an entire NBA season with a herniated disc, which ultimately caused the Washington Wizards to trade him to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcin Gortat, but there are still a number of teams reportedly interested in acquiring the free agent big man.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Emeka Okafor likely won’t be ready to play until midseason, so whoever ends up signing him will probably have a starter in place already. Stein also added that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat have expressed interest in signing Okafor.
The list of pursuers for the defensive-minded center, according to NBA front office sources, includes LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers as well as LeBron’s old friends in Miami.
When Emeka Okafor was healthy, prior to the 2013-2014 NBA season, he anchored the Washington Wizards to a top-10 defense and helped the team compete every night, despite not having John Wall for the majority of the 2012-2013 season.
Emeka Okafor, 31, averaged just under 10 points and 9 rebounds per game in one season with the Washington Wizards. Since his issue was considered to be serious, and will probably sideline him for another half a season, I wouldn’t expect Emeka Okafor to get more than the veteran’s minimum.
Right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest need is certainly their lack of defensive oriented players. They don’t have much depth at the center position and Emeka Okafor could become a big boost to their team in terms of defense. The Miami Heat also don’t have depth at the front court positions and Okafor could be a key addition if everything pans out.
Nevertheless, let’s hope Emeka Okafor makes a full recovery and returns sooner rather than later.