Gotta hand it to Billy King. He moved fast on what had been a day of devastating news.
The general manager of the New Jersey Nets reacted swiftly and may have gotten an unbelievable bargain by acquiring center Mehmet Okur from the Utah Jazz for the paltry price of a second-round draft pick.
This came just a couple hours after the Nets announced that center Brook Lopez had suffered a stress fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right foot that will require surgery Friday. The recovery time is unknown, and it pretty much shelves any short-term plans New Jersey might have had to acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
If Lopez can recover and be back on the court in two months, the Magic will have about a month to assess how he looks if they find themselves forced to trade Howard prior to the March 15 deadline. That assumes, of course, that the Lakers don’t come in with an offer of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol while Lopez is on the mend.
Okur has an expiring $10.9 million contract. He averaged more than 17 points per game in three of his five seasons with the Jazz and was an All-Star in 2007, but he played only 13 games last season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Okur started at center for Utah on Monday night against Portland, playing 19 minutes and missing his only shot. The Jazz gain a large trade exception along with a second-round pick in 2015.
Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake City Tribune reported “Okur was completely caught off guard by the deal and is unhappy about it.”
Lopez had played in 246 consecutive games, the fourth-longest current streak in the NBA.