Pelicans to exercise option on Okafor’s contract

Jahlil Okafor appeared in 59 games with the Pelicans this past season, averaging better than eight points.

The New Orleans Pelicans intend to exercise the $1.7 million contract option to keep center Jahlil Okafor, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

Okafor made a resurgence of sorts last season, appearing in 59 games with the Pelicans and averaging 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. Until that point, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft was viewed as somewhat of a flop.

“The New Orleans staff is impressed by the way Okafor has reworked his body and the improvements he’s made on the defensive end of the floor,” Andrews reported.

Okafor is 6-foot-11. His contract has a guarantee of $54 thousand, as noted by Bobby Marks of ESPN. Okafor will have to remain on the roster beyond Jan. 7 for the contract to become fully guaranteed.

Okafor has also spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

The Pelicans own the Nos. 1 and 4 overall picks in Thursday’s draft.