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On the eve of training camp, the Philadelphia 76ers have signed Emeka Okafor to round out their training-camp roster. According to several reports, the deal is not guaranteed and is for the NBA minimum.
The No. 2 overall selection in the 2004 draft by the then-Charlotte Hornets (now Bobcats), Okafor was Rookie of the Year in 2005, after the Bobcats selected him behind only Dwight Howard. But Okafor suffered a variety of injuries, derailing his career.
Okafor appeared in 26 games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season. The 6-foot-10, 252-pound 10-year veteran averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots in 13.6 minutes in those 26 games (19 starts) for the Pelicans, shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line. He was released Wednesday.
Before Okafor joined New Orleans in February last season, he spent time with Philadelphia’s G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. He spent training camp and the preseason with the 76ers last season.
Okafor’s last appearance in the NBA before landing in New Orleans last season was in 2012-13, when he played in 79 games (77 starts) for the Washington Wizards, averaging 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in 26.0 minutes.
He suffered a herniated disk and underwent rehabilitation the following years and also went through multiple years of rehabilitation.
The former University of Connecticut star carries career averages of 12.0 points, 9.7 boards and 1.6 rejections in 30.9 minutes in 616 games (603 starts), shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 58.6 percent from the charity stripe.
Okafor spent the first five seasons of his career with Charlotte, then played three with the then-New Orleans Hornets before landing in Washington and finally, back with New Orleans last season.