The New Jersey Nets wasted no time plugging the hole created when starting center Brook Lopez went down with a broken foot earlier Thursday.
The Utah Jazz announced in a statement that the team has traded center Mehmet Okur to the Nets in exchange for a future second-round draft pick.
Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has acquired a future second-round draft pick and a trade exception from the New Jersey Nets in exchange for center Mehmet Okur.ESPN.com reported that the draft pick is a 2015 second rounder.
Entering his 10th NBA season, Okur (6-11, 265, Yalova, Turkey), appeared in 13 games (no starts) for the Jazz during the 2010-11 campaign, averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game. The 2007 NBA All-Star holds career averages of 13.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 617 career games (446 starts) with Detroit and Utah. Okur, who joined the Jazz prior to the 2004-05 season, departs the team ranking fourth on the franchise’s all-time list for three-pointers made (517), fifth for three-pointers attempted (1,358), and ninth in scoring (7,255), rebounding (3,599) and blocked shots (346).
A back injury ended Okur's 2010-2011 season in March and he reportedly considered retirement before opting to return to Utah to play out the final year of his contract. Okur is on the books in 2011-2012 for $10.9 million, meaning the Jazz acquire a trade exception for that value in this move.
Okur had been part of a very deep frontcourt in Utah, which also included veteran big man Al Jefferson, power forward Paul Millsap, second-year power forward Derrick Favors and 2011 first round pick Enes Kanter. There clearly weren't enough minutes to go around and Okur, 32, is well past his best days. His departure should open up playing time for Favors and Kanter, who represent Utah's future.
New Jersey, meanwhile, couldn't have a bigger need. With Lopez expected to be sidelined for more than a month, their frontline rotation included the likes of Kris Humphries, Johan Petro and rookie forward Jordan Williams. Good luck with that. Okur isn't a franchise-altering addition by any means but he has a familiarity with All-Star point guard Deron Williams, can knock down a face-up shot, doesn't require a long-term salary commitment and was essentially acquired for no cost other than his salary.