Players > Retired > Emeka Okafor
Emeka Okafor
PF/C - 6'10, 255lbs - 41 years old - 11 years of NBA experience
Retired - Retired after 2020 season
  • Birthdate: 09/28/1982
  • Drafted (NBA): 2nd pick, 2004
  • Pre-draft team: Connecticut
  • Country: USA/Nigeria
  • Hand: Right
  • Agent: -
2004 NBA DraftNBADrafted 2nd overall by Charlotte.
21st July, 2004NBASigned four year, $17,487,667 rookie scale contract with Charlotte. Included team option for 2007/08.
25th June, 2005NBACharlotte exercised 2007/08 team option.
30th July, 2008NBARe-signed by Charlotte to a six year, $72 million contract. Included early termination option after 2012/13 season.
28th July, 2009NBATraded by Charlotte to New Orleans in exchange for Tyson Chandler.
20th June, 2012NBATraded by New Orleans, along with Trevor Ariza, to Washington in exchange for Rashard Lewis and a 2012 second round pick (#46, Darius Miller).
30th June, 2013NBADeclined early termination option.
25th October, 2013NBATraded by Washington, along with a protected 2014 first round pick (#18, 2014, Tyler Ennis), to Phoenix in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee.
23rd September, 2017NBASigned an unguaranteed one year minimum salary contract with Philadelphia.
14th October, 2017NBAWaived by Philadelphia.
23rd October, 2017D-LeagueDesignated as an allocated player by Delaware 87ers.
3rd February, 2018NBASigned a second 10 day contract with New Orleans.
14th February, 2018NBASigned a second 10 day contract with New Orleans.
26th February, 2018NBASigned a partially guaranteed minimum salary contract for the remainder of the season and through 2019 with New Orleans.
19th September, 2018NBAWaived by New Orleans.
Career Moves
2001 - 2004Connecticut (NCAA)
June 2004 - July 2009Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
July 2009 - June 2012New Orleans Hornets (NBA)
June 2012 - October 2013Washington Wizards (NBA)
October 2013 - June 2014Phoenix Suns (NBA)
September 2017 - October 2017Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
October 2017 - February 2018Delaware 87ers (G-League)
February 2018 - September 2018New Orleans Pelicans (NBA)
Articles about Emeka Okafor

November 6, 2013

[...] The lure of first-round picks is in what they can yield, not what they always do. It is well established, of course, that many first-round picks are failures relative to expectation, and this is truer the lower they are. However, first-rounders can yield star talent, star talent that has no choice but to sign with you. It can yield quality role players for basement prices, and it can yield contributors in any form you choose. Most importantly, however, first-rounders are always young and cheap. Bad teams need this to get good, and good teams need this to stay good when the market forces and punitive luxury taxes designed to break them up necessitate they cut costs. Talent is talent, but cheap, young talent is the best type of talent.

Back at the start of the summer, Utah took on a whopping $25 million in salary that it didn't want in the forms of Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush, purely to acquire two first-round picks and three second-round picks from the Golden State Warriors. The Jazz did this because it was more beneficial to their long-term rebuilding goal to target first-round picks, and that amount of money is now the cost of acquiring them. Or at least, it should be. First-round picks should be a valued commodity, much more than they were. Now, it seems as though they finally are.

A cursory look at the market indicates this change in philosophy. The last few deals to have included first-round picks include:

- Washington trading a pick (top-12 protected in 2014, top-10 protected through 2019, thereafter unprotected) along with Emeka Okafor in exchange for Marcin Gortat.

- Indiana trading a pick (lottery protected through 2019, thereafter unprotected) along with Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green in exchange for Luis Scola

- Boston acquiring first-rounders in all of 2014, 2016 and 2018 as a part of the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett deal

- New Orleans acquiring Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson in exchange for the rights to Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick

- Toronto acquiring a 2016 first-round pick from New York -- along with two second-round picks, Steve Novak and Marcus Camby -- in exchange for Andrea Bargnani

In that list, we mostly see first-rounders traded for quality. Hall of Fame players like Pierce and Garnett, fringe All-Stars like Holiday or non-lottery picks for a legitimate starting center in Gortat. The ones where we don't see that -- the deals for Scola and Bargnani -- therefore stand out as bad deals for that reason. The inclusion of the first-round picks in each instance leaves the recipient team drastically overpaying for backup-caliber forwards. And if he's not re-signed or extended, the Gortat deal might join them.

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October 31, 2013

It's not very often you see a team trade for four players. then waive three of them three days later. Indeed, the most obvious thing to say about the trade of Marcin Gortat to Washington was its novelty.

Phoenix have been fire-selling with some conviction, aggressively trying to get rid of every player over the age of 27. The only players older than this that they now have on their roster are P.J. Tucker (who is nevertheless still very inexperienced) and Channing Frye. At the minimum salary, Tucker is so cheap that he is of great value even to a rebuilding team, whereas Frye, if he proves his health and a return to his usual averageness over the first few months of the season, is an extremely logical candidate for a deadline day trade. (And Tucker could well be used to facilitate this.) Phoenix has plenty of young players meriting development minutes, and the protected first round pick Washington also handed over in the deal further cements their new ideology. There is no better way to get younger than with draft picks.

The sole player Phoenix returned in this trade, Emeka Okafor, is now their oldest. The 31-year-old Okafor never developed offensively, and is now on the downside of his career - this, combined with his high cost and status as being out indefinitely due to a neck injury, had largely killed his market. His age of course rather defies the idea of the Suns getting younger, yet Okafor is in the deal mostly to facilitate it financially - the real lure for Phoenix is the first round pick Washington gave up for what may only be a one season rental of Gortat. But if it is only a one year rental, it is still likely worth it for Washington, such is the quality of Gortat. His finishing ability inside and out, his pick and roll offense, and sufficient shot blocking and rebounding add much to a team defiant and determined in their 2014 playoff push. This deal is of young for old, of the future for the now, two teams in contrary positions and opposite directions with very different shopping lists, helping each other fill them.

This deal figures to benefit both teams. It might also work out well for the players, and in particular Okafor when he recovers from injury. Expiring at the end of the season, wanted by Phoenix purely for his contract, and with no one craving a $14,487,500 expiring contract deal more than the Suns, Okafor is not likely to be traded again and therefore must be considered a likely candidate for a buyout at some point between now and February. He cannot by rule return to Washington, yet everything else is fair game, and competitors in need of an extra big man such as Chicago, the Clippers and Oklahoma City should be on high alert. This is contingent upon his health, of course, yet his quality is proven.

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