Mehmet Okur will soon be on the open market as he was released Wednesday by the Portland Trail Blazers, who signed J.J. Hickson.
Okur was acquired last week in the deal that sent Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets. He never took the court for Portland.
Okur can be claimed on waivers, but the claiming team must honor his contract. If he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent.
A 7-footer with 3-point range who can rebound a little, Okur would be an ideal fit for the Boston Celtics, who are woefully short on big men for their postseason push.
Hickson was released Monday by the Sacramento Kings, less than a year after they sent Omri Casspi and a future first-round pick to Cleveland for him. He averaged better than 13 points per game with the Cavs last season but is averaging just 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds this season.
The Blazers made a handful of trades at last week’s deadline and also fired coach Nate McMillan as they look toward the future.
“We like J.J.’s energy and physicality,” Blazers acting GM Chad Buchanan said. “He’s a young but experienced player who can help our front line.”
A native of Turkey, Okur played his first two seasons with Detroit, winning a championship ring in 2004. He spent the next seven seasons with Utah and was an All-Star in 2007 but missed most of last season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the 2010 playoffs.
The Nets acquired Okur from the Jazz just before the start of the season when center Brook Lopez went down with a foot injury. Okur has averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in 634 career games.