Teams eyeing Emeka Okafor's return

August, 24, 2014
Aug 24
11:17
PM ET
Even after losing an entire season to injury, Emeka Okafor is a man in demand.

Roughly half of the league, I'm told, has registered interest this summer in Okafor, despite the fact that the 31-year-old free agent missed all of the 2013-14 season while recovering from a serious neck ailment.

The list of pursuers for the defensive-minded center, according to NBA front office sources, includes LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers as well as LeBron's old friends in Miami.

But I'm likewise told that Okafor is unlikely to sign anywhere until midseason as he continues to recover from his herniated disk.

Said one source: "He'll be in high demand when he's back."

Okafor suffered the injury in the preseason while with Washington last October and was dealt to the Phoenix Suns shortly before opening night in the big trade that brought Marcin Gortat to the Wizards. The Suns were widely expected to then use Okafor's $14.5 million expiring contract in a subsequent deal -- such as trading for Pau Gasol -- but ultimately passed on a follow-up move.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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