According to NBA insider Shams Charania (of The Athletic and Stadium), center Jahlil Okafor has agreed to a non-guaranteed deal with the Atlanta Hawks after being waived by the Brooklyn Nets last week.
The third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Okafor played for the Pistons last season after signing with the team in December, averaging 5.4 points and 2.4 boards in the 27 games he played in. Prior to his stint with Detroit, the former Blue Devil played for the Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in just 20.4 minutes per game.
As Atlanta enters training camp ahead of the 2021-22 season, Okafor will battle for spot on the 15-man roster with former Nets forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, who has also signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Hawks.
The 6-10 big man, who came into the league praised for his interior scoring, is coming off of his first-ever Olympic appearance for the Nigerian men’s national basketball team (D’Tigers). Although D’Tigers failed to advance from Pool B, Okafor averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.0 minutes per game (3 contests) while shooting 85.7 percent from the field.
With Atlanta already being stacked at the pivot, between starter Clint Capela, second-year center Onyeka Okongwu and the recently signed Gorgui Dieng, Okafor’s chances of sticking with the Hawks aren’t ideal. However, with Okongwu recovering from a shoulder surgery that will sideline him through December and Dieng’s ability to play power forward (he’s shot 37.8 percent from 3-point range over the past two seasons), Okafor could find himself not just on the roster, but on the floor for Atlanta.