Looking to shore up their interior defense, the Oklahoma City Thunder will sign free-agent center Nazr Mohammed, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania. Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman confirmed the report.
Mohammed announced the move later Saturday:
With all that being said – DRUMROLL PLEASE – I am now a proud member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the very team I competed for a Championship with in 2012. I was days away from turning “semi-retirement” into full retirement when I received word from Sam Presti that they had interest in me returning to OKC as a player. That quickly changed the course of my plans and forced me to do some real soul-searching to see if this was something my family and I wanted.
This will be Mohammed's second stint with the Thunder, as he was a part of Oklahoma City's squad for 87 games and was a member of the 2011-12 team that made the NBA Finals.
Drafted in the first round (29th overall) of the 1998 NBA draft, Mohammed has averaged 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in his career with eight different teams. He averaged just under 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes in his time with the Thunder.
Mohammed spent last year with the Chicago Bulls and appeared in three playoff games. His last game action came in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on May 14, playing only two minutes, 16 seconds in a 94-73 loss to Cleveland.
The signing of Mohammed comes with the Thunder struggling defensively since coming out of the All-Star break. Oklahoma City has lost six of its last eight games and has allowed 100 points in each of them. Thursday's 121-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors was the fourth time the Thunder have allowed 115 points or more in that stretch. Mohammed has recorded 1.4 blocks per 36 minutes in his career.
Oklahoma City allowed 56 points in the paint to the Warriors on Thursday. While Mohammed will be brought in for rebounding purposes and protecting the paint, it's unclear how he fits into the center rotation with young big men Enes Kanter and Steven Adams.