December 23, 2011
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They traded him to the New Jersey Nets on Thursday for a second-round pick in the 2015 draft.
The average fan is wondering why in the world the Jazz would dump such a productive big man for a meaningless pick way down the line.
Okur has averaged 13.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 617 career games with Detroit and Utah. He is fourth in team history with 517 three-pointers made, ninth in scoring (7,255), rebounding (3,599) and blocked shots (346).
The real reason the Jazz got rid of Okur was to take his $10.8 million expiring contract off the books.
There was no point in letting the 6-11 Okur suck up valuable minutes of playing time away from young guys like rookie center Enes Kanter and second-year forward Derrick Favors.
The Jazz have been able to rebuild their team on the fly without having to completely bottom out, something few teams are able to pull off.
The trade also gave Utah a trade exception, that Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said will "allow us to go shopping."
The trade exception will give Utah a year to acquire more salary in another trade than the team they are making a deal with.
Okur will get the opportunity to play alongside Kris Humphries in the post while they wait for Brook Lopez to return from foot surgery.
But the Jazz are better off without the productive 32-year-old.
Coupled with Al Jefferson, the Jazz now have three potential studs up front and will give them plenty of time to develop into the stars they are projected to be.
Utah is going to have very fresh legs for this grueling NBA schedule, and will be playing with some of the best young big men in the game and plenty of cap flexibility to fill the holes in the backcourt.
Don’t sleep on the Jazz.
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