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NBA Rumors: Okafor Sitting Out the Season?

Will Emeka Okafor sit out the remainder of the 2014-15 season? That and more NBA rumors.

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Okafor May Sit Out Until Next Season

Veteran center Emeka Okafor, who is being tracked by numerous teams in search of frontcourt help, is giving strong consideration to delaying his comeback from a neck injury until next season, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Okafor, who missed all of last season after suffering a herniated disk in his neck, is leaning toward waiting until the summer before committing to a new team to give himself more time to continue strength and conditioning work.

Okafor, 32, is “healthy,” according to one source, but is reluctant to rush back this season.

via Marc Stein of ESPN

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks and Miami HEAT are among the teams expressing interest in Okafor, according to Stein, but they may have to look at alternatives if Okafor decides to sit out the remainder of the season.

Okafor is one of the best free agents on the market, as he has been a starting-caliber center throughout the course of his career and never averaged below one block per game. He’s a very good rim protector, and any team in need of frontcourt depth has been monitoring his health.

It appears that he’s healthy, but doesn’t feel he’s in game shape or able to contribute at a high level due to his strength and conditioning issues.

This would be the second consecutive season in which Okafor hasn’t played at all, but he’ll likely be signed by a team whenever he deems himself ready to play.

Gasol Will Listen to Other Teams

It’s too early to pursue Gasol, but the 29-year-old veteran, now in his seventh season, said he would listen if approached — when the time comes.

“When we get to July we will sit down, and we will listen to everybody,” said Gasol, who was drafted by the Lakers in the second round (48th overall) in 2007 and was traded to Memphis in the deal that brought his brother to Los Angeles. “Talking about it now, and weighing the different options, it’s not useful. I understand the attention, but right now it’s way too early to think and even talk about it.”

via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times

Gasol says he will weigh all of his options when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, but that’s likely more about him doing his due diligence than it is about him wanting to leave Memphis.

In the same article, Gasol explains his love of Memphis, where he arrived as a teenager with his brother Pau.

“I got [to Memphis] when I was 16, when Memphis played at the Pyramid when we had Tony Massenburg and Ike Austin,” Gasol told Pincus. “Watching Pau play, and watching the franchise grow, imagine how much the franchise and the city of Memphis means to me.”

It’s hard to imagine Gasol leaving Memphis, especially with the team looking like a legitimate contender and having the rest of their core locked into deals beyond this season.

Jazz Calling Up Millsap

Elijah Millsap – younger brother of Paul – will join the jazz as a D – league call up, NBA source confirms to the tribune

via Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune

Jones reported that Millsap could be joining the Jazz as early as Monday, which makes sense given the team’s need for healthy players.

Utah has had a number of players go down recently, including Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Pat Christopher.

Millsap will be the first D-League call-up of 2015, as well as the first in nearly a month.

His brother, Paul Millsap, spent seven years with the Jazz before leaving as a free agent to join the Atlanta Hawks.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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