SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard has been bothered by a quadriceps injury and the Spurs badly missed him when he sat out Monday's 89-74 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. San Antonio established season lows for points and assists (11) while shooting just 36.6 percent from the field.
Jahlil Okafor was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft but the Philadelphia 76ers are on the verge of dealing him to the New Orleans Pelicans. It isn't clear if a trade will be finalized prior to Wednesday's contest against the visiting San Antonio Spurs but the 76ers appear intent on dealing him before the Feb. 23 trading deadline.
Center Joel Embiid's emergence as a star diminished Okafor's playing time and the former Duke standout understands why his name has been swirling in trade speculation.
"As a professional in the NBA, that's something I'll probably have to deal with the rest of my career," Okafor said after Monday's 113-96 loss to the Detroit Pistons. "It's something I dealt with last year and something I'll probably deal with next year, too. I just try to worry about what I can control."
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ABOUT THE SPURS (39-12): San Antonio reached 100 points in 27 consecutive games before the offense was nonexistent without Leonard against the Grizzlies. Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge used to be a go-to player in Portland but didn't look the part against Memphis while suffering through a 4-of-19 shooting performance and scoring 13 points. Aldridge is averaging 12.5 points on 8-of-29 shooting over the past two games and reached 20 points just three times in his past 13 contests.
ABOUT THE 76ERS (18-33): Embiid (knee) sat out the past six games, so it is not a surprise that Philadelphia has dropped four straight games and six of its last seven. New Orleans reportedly offered journeyman center Alexis Ajinca and a first-round pick for Okafor and coach Brett Brown has been impressed with how Okafor has handled the loss of playing time and the recent trade speculation. "He's been a star," Brown told reporters. "My level of respect for Jahlil Okafor, how he's managed and handled this situation, how you can still remain a wonderful teammate and still retain a competitive edge ... he's got a lot to be proud of. He's a wonderful person."
1. The Spurs won the last 11 meetings, including a 102-86 home victory last on Thursday.
2. Philadelphia SF Robert Covington (hand) was 2-of-10 shooting against Detroit in his return from a three-game absence.
3. San Antonio backup PF David Lee scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting against Memphis and reached double digits in eight of the past 10 games.